News from ISGlobal
“The Climate Change agreement signed in Paris last June is not only about protecting the environment, it is also about health”, declared Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment in WHO, during an informal but inspiring lecture she delivered at ISGlobal.
Along her talk, she stressed the need to shift priorities and resources once again from disease treatment to primary prevention in order to decrease the costs of chronic non-communicable diseases. Currently, 97% of total resources are allocated to health care expenditure versus only 3% for prevention. “My dream” she said “is a 90/10 ratio. Public health goes beyond treating the patient; we need to make sure he/she does not get sick”.
In this sense, the Climate Change Agreement signed in Paris and the recently approved Sustainable Development Goals are key for disease prevention. For example, the clean energy goal would help reduce the 7 million deaths related to air pollution every year. “For 12 years” she continued “we have been trying to introduce the health argument in climate change negotiations”.