The ANMF recognises climate change as a significant issue for health and participates in activities to mitigate its effects. At the front line of health care delivery, the nursing and midwifery professions will be increasingly affected by climate change in their professional capacity.
Joint Statement on Recognising Climate Change in the National Preventive Health Strategy
The ANMF is among the organisations who signed a joint statement calling on the Health Minister to recognise climate change in the National Preventive Health Strategy.
Climate change must be a central feature of any broad national health strategy. The World Health Organization has described climate change as the defining issue for public health in the 21st century, and it poses significant immediate, medium-term and long-term risks to the health of Australians and communities around the world.
Climate Change and Health
Climate change has implications for human health. Increased average temperatures are contributing to more severe hot weather, storms, floods and fires. More days over 35 degrees contributes to heat stress in vulnerable groups such as the elderly and remote Indigenous communities. There is also the possible migration further south of diseases currently confined to tropical areas. Climate change poses significant threats to food and water security.
The accumulated health effects from these factors combined puts pressure on already stretched health and aged care facilities and the associated workforce. These sectors must be prepared and equipped to manage the health impacts of climate change.
Health and aged care facilities are significant contributors to climate change as large consumers of energy, water and products. They also generate huge volumes of waste.
There is much that can be done to prepare health and aged care facilities for increased demands placed on them due to climate change events, and to improve the overall environmental sustainability of the health and aged care sectors. More information about the role nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing can play in developing policy and influencing practices in their workplaces to improve energy and water efficiency, procurement, and waste management practices, is found in the resources below.
- ANMF policy on Climate Change
- ANMF policy on Health and the Environment
- ANMF position statement on Primary Health Care
The ANMF is a member of the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA). This alliance of health related organisations seeks to educate the health sector about climate change and assist health and aged care facilities to improve their environmental sustainability. CAHA communicates to governments and the wider community about climate change and health.
CAHA has a range of publications including a monthly newsletter, position papers and submissions available on its website. Individual nurses can participate in CAHA activities.
For further information the following websites and publications may be useful: