40 Mn Health Workers Ask G20 Leaders for Healthy, Green Recovery
The health professionals urge the leaders to put public health at the centre of their economic recovery packages.
Over 40 million doctors, nurses and other professionals, including those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, have urged the G20 leaders to prioritise public health and put it at the centre of their respective economic recovery packages.
A press release elaborates on the demands of the health community mobilisation, asking for governments to invest in public health, clean air and water, and a stable climate as part of the economic stimulus packages which are currently being considered in various nations, with the objective of ‘reducing air pollution and climate-warming emissions, build greater resilience to future pandemics, and simultaneously create more sustainable jobs’.
The letter written to the leaders has been signed by over 200 medical groups representing health workers, including the World Medical Association, the International Council of Nurses, the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, the World Organisation of Family Doctors and the World Federation of Public Health Associations.
The groups have asked for the involvement of medical and scientific communities in making the stimulus packages, taking into account the impact of these measures on public health in the short and the long-term.
The letter mentions that the signatories believe that the pain and distress that the pandemic has caused to health professionals could have been mitigated by ‘adequate investments in pandemic preparedness, public health and environmental stewardship’.
Dr Miguel R. Jorge, President, World Medical Association, says, "Health professionals are at the frontlines of this emergency, and we are seeing the immense loss of lives because of acting too late. We know now more than ever, that healthy lives depend on a healthy planet. “
“As we walk on the road to recovery, we cannot ignore that we need to build a system in place that will protect us from further damage. That is why it is important that governments take into consideration public health when they are discussing recovery packages. We need a comprehensive approach, a healthy and green recovery and we need it now.”Dr Miguel R. Jorge
The right reforms and packages can avoid these mistakes in the future. The governments have the power to make this transformation in the next 12-18 months, the press release says. These efforts can be mobilised and advocated at international summits such as the G7 summit on 10 June, the European Council on 18-19 June, the IMF-World Bank meeting on 16-17 October and the G20 summit on 21-22 November - by putting public health at the core of all recovery efforts.
“As COVID-19 has made clear, the economy suffers when human health is compromised, the health professionals say. Their message is that a science-based approach to a healthy recovery from COVID-19 must lead to decisions to reduce both air pollution, which weakens the lungs, hearts and other organs, and greenhouse gas emissions, which cause drought, extreme heat, flooding, wildfires and other life-threatening disruptions.”The Press Release
The government must invest in sustainable and innovative industries, jobs, food production and food supply chains - by also encouraging healthier diets, more renewable energy, physical exercises, zero-emission public transport and regeneration of trees and nature.
Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, first woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has been quoted in the press release as saying, “I echo the sentiment of health professionals around the world: re-building a healthy society means taking real and lasting action on the climate crisis. COVID-19 has shone a light on the interconnectedness of our shared vulnerabilities and demonstrated beyond doubt that public health and the protection of our planet are inextricably linked."
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