Catalyzing Innovation in Health-related Climate Adaptation

This session explored the impacts of climate change on health, how communities are adapting, and innovative solutions emerging in the intersection of climate change and health.

CLIMATE ADAPTATIONCLIMATE RESILIENCECOLLABORATIONMAY 28

2 min read

At the recent "Convergence: Scaling Innovations at the Intersection of Climate, Health, and Equity," session hosted by HIEX and the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI) alongside the World Health Assembly in Geneva, leaders from across the public, private, and social sectors came together to tackle the pressing challenges posed by climate change on global health. 

Introduction and Context

At the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, HIEX and the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI) hosted Convergence: Scaling Innovations at the Intersection of Climate, Health, and Equity. This action-oriented convening brought together leaders from the public, private, and social sectors to address the urgent health impacts of climate change, especially in the global south. The event underscored the necessity of rapid adaptation and mitigation efforts, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations. Discussions centered on pioneering medical products, advanced surveillance and early warning systems, and the development of climate-resilient healthcare infrastructure, supply chains, and workforce. Participants shared scalable and equitable innovations essential for adapting to and mitigating the health effects of our changing climate.

Key Themes and Discussions

Climate Change and Health: The critical impact of climate change on health was emphasized, with climate adaptation becoming essential in public health responses. Disparities in life expectancy were highlighted, with Switzerland averaging 86-87 years and the lowest life expectancy countries averaging around 51 years. The 35-year difference underscores the vulnerability of certain populations to climate change. 

Global Health Challenges and Solutions: Mario Moreira from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation discussed Brazil's challenges with dengue, now affecting regions previously unaffected due to climate change. The recent floods in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, were mentioned as a case study of the devastating impact of climate change on health. These floods resulted in 169 fatalities, displacing over 227,000 people, and triggering outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

Strategies for Climate-Resilient Health Systems: Emphasis was placed on the need for resilient healthcare infrastructure, including elevated construction in flood-prone areas and stockpiling of essential medications and vaccines. Innovation in supply chains, with diverse transportation methods, was highlighted as critical for ensuring continued medical supply delivery during extreme weather events.

Collaboration and Innovation: The session underscored the critical importance of cross-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration, highlighting the Asian Development Bank's pivotal role in spearheading climate and health initiatives. The upcoming G20 summit under Brazil’s presidency was mentioned as a platform to build on commitments to climate and health.

Key Takeaways

The session concluded with a powerful call to action, imploring all stakeholders to engage proactively in climate and health initiatives. The discussions highlighted the urgent need for innovative solutions and strategic investments to build a climate-resilient health system. Emphasis was placed on the importance of fostering collaboration across sectors to drive impactful change.

Participants were encouraged to leverage their unique capacities to innovate in medical products and technologies, enhance surveillance and early warning systems, and strengthen healthcare infrastructure and supply chains. The collective goal is to develop robust, sustainable health systems that can withstand the increasing pressures of a changing climate, ensuring equitable access to care for the most vulnerable populations. This rallying cry underscored the session’s commitment to translating dialogue into concrete, scalable actions that advance both health and climate resilience.

At the recent "Convergence: Scaling Innovations at the Intersection of Climate, Health, and Equity," session hosted by HIEX and the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI) alongside the World Health Assembly in Geneva, leaders from across the public, private, and social sectors came together to tackle the pressing challenges posed by climate change on global health. 

Introduction and Context

At the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, HIEX and the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI) hosted Convergence: Scaling Innovations at the Intersection of Climate, Health, and Equity. This action-oriented convening brought together leaders from the public, private, and social sectors to address the urgent health impacts of climate change, especially in the global south. The event underscored the necessity of rapid adaptation and mitigation efforts, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations. Discussions centered on pioneering medical products, advanced surveillance and early warning systems, and the development of climate-resilient healthcare infrastructure, supply chains, and workforce. Participants shared scalable and equitable innovations essential for adapting to and mitigating the health effects of our changing climate.

Key Themes and Discussions

Climate Change and Health: The critical impact of climate change on health was emphasized, with climate adaptation becoming essential in public health responses. Disparities in life expectancy were highlighted, with Switzerland averaging 86-87 years and the lowest life expectancy countries averaging around 51 years. The 35-year difference underscores the vulnerability of certain populations to climate change. 

Global Health Challenges and Solutions: Mario Moreira from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation discussed Brazil's challenges with dengue, now affecting regions previously unaffected due to climate change. The recent floods in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, were mentioned as a case study of the devastating impact of climate change on health. These floods resulted in 169 fatalities, displacing over 227,000 people, and triggering outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

Strategies for Climate-Resilient Health Systems: Emphasis was placed on the need for resilient healthcare infrastructure, including elevated construction in flood-prone areas and stockpiling of essential medications and vaccines. Innovation in supply chains, with diverse transportation methods, was highlighted as critical for ensuring continued medical supply delivery during extreme weather events.

Collaboration and Innovation: The session underscored the critical importance of cross-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration, highlighting the Asian Development Bank's pivotal role in spearheading climate and health initiatives. The upcoming G20 summit under Brazil’s presidency was mentioned as a platform to build on commitments to climate and health.

Key Takeaways

The session concluded with a powerful call to action, imploring all stakeholders to engage proactively in climate and health initiatives. The discussions highlighted the urgent need for innovative solutions and strategic investments to build a climate-resilient health system. Emphasis was placed on the importance of fostering collaboration across sectors to drive impactful change.

Participants were encouraged to leverage their unique capacities to innovate in medical products and technologies, enhance surveillance and early warning systems, and strengthen healthcare infrastructure and supply chains. The collective goal is to develop robust, sustainable health systems that can withstand the increasing pressures of a changing climate, ensuring equitable access to care for the most vulnerable populations. This rallying cry underscored the session’s commitment to translating dialogue into concrete, scalable actions that advance both health and climate resilience.