Cape Times

Physi­cians’ 2017 note

- Nigel Dun­can Pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tant, WMA Health · Climate Change · Society · Ecology · organization

THE hopes and con­cerns of physi­cians around the world for 2017 have been set out in a new year mes­sage from the World Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Among the as­so­ci­a­tion’s main hopes is that world lead­ers will re­dou­ble their ef­forts to com­bat the ef­fects of cli­mate change.

WMA pres­i­dent Dr Ke­tan De­sai said: “One of the most im­por­tant new poli­cies that the WMA adopted this year was to urge health or­gan­i­sa­tions around the world to trans­fer their in­vest­ments from en­ergy com­pa­nies re­ly­ing on fos­sil fu­els to those gen­er­at­ing en­ergy from re­new­able sources.

We would hope to see con­sid­er­able progress on this in 2017.

“We would also hope to see gov­ern­ments strengthen pub­lic health sys­tems to im­prove the ca­pac­ity of com­mu­ni­ties to adapt to cli­mate change. Now is the time for the gov­ern­ments to act on their promised com­mit­ments to tackle cli­mate change, not to re­treat.”

A sig­nif­i­cant con­cern is the in­creas­ing risk to physi­cians and health-care pro­fes­sion­als tar­geted in war zones and ar­eas of con­flict.

De­sai said: “The num­ber of deaths and in­juries over the past year is a tragic re­minder of the de­clin­ing re­spect for in­ter­na­tional laws and con­ven­tions con­cern­ing the pro­tec­tion given to all med­i­cal per­son­nel in war zones.

“The bomb­ing of hos­pi­tals and other health-care fa­cil­i­ties has to stop.”

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