Health systems in the Caribbean remain highly vulnerable to impacts from climate change, both on the quality and the capacity of services, as well as on the socio-economic and environmental determinants of health. These impacts have been well documented: extreme weather conditions; heat waves; more frequent strong and devastating hurricanes; recurring and extended periods of drought followed by excessive rainfall; increased levels of air pollution and sea-level rise.
As part of a European Union-funded and Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) coordinated project entitled “Strengthening Climate Resilient Health Systems in the Caribbean”, The University of the West Indies (The UWI), through its Climate Change and Health Leaders Fellowship program, will award six Caribbean nationals from across the region, who have demonstrated great leadership potential of becoming change agents in areas of Climate Change and Health.
The Fellows include Dr. Kenzy Jean-Pierre from Haiti; Dr. Kim Newton-James from Saint Lucia; Ms. Shanika John from St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Ms. Stephanie Cheuk-Alam from Suriname; Mr. Steve Daniel from Barbados and Dr. William Hamilton from The Bahamas. They will graduate at an event entitled CARICOM Professionals Leading Climate and Health Actions scheduled for Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at 10 am. The public is invited to view this ceremony live on The UWI St. Augustine YouTube page.
The UWI-led Climate Change and Health Leaders fellowship initiative has partnered with international organisations, CARICOM institutes, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and government ministries from across the region to implement its multidisciplinary programme. Partners include the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CMIH), The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), The Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) and the NGO EarthMedic/EarthNurse.
The Climate Change and Health Leaders Fellowship is a part-time, 12 months, blended learning, curriculum-directed program, targeting early/mid-career professionals from 16 Caribbean countries. “This fellowship will create a cohort of inter-sectorial, multidisciplinary Caribbean leaders with the necessary skills to turn plans and policy into action. It will also develop strong, effective Climate Change leadership amongst Caribbean Professionals while championing the One Health approach,” said Professor Christopher Oura, Project Lead for the Climate Change and Health Leaders Fellowship Programme, and Professor of Veterinary Virology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The UWI St. Augustine Campus. “Fellows will be furnished with the knowledge and skills to enable them to support national Caribbean governments in the inclusion of health elements in the national adaptation plans (NAPs) for Climate Change and will be able to support the development and implementation of these plans,” he added.