The climate change impacts health in a variety of ways, including the spread of epidemic diseases as a result of increasingly frequent extreme environmental phenomena, such as heat waves, dust storms, and floods.
The health of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in community is impacted by climate change.
To prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change on community health, the Iraqi Red Crescent has adopted a variety of programs and projects, such as promoting health awareness among communities exposed to diseases related to climate change and combating endemic diseases caused by climate change.
40 volunteers from eight governorates (Dohuk, Sulaymaniyah, Nineveh, Salah al-Din, Baghdad, Anbar, and Maysan) have participated in a community health and first aid workshop (CBHFA) and (RCCE) organized by the IRCS and supported by the Danish Red Cross,
According to the trainer Duaa Jamal, coordinator of the health department programs at the IRCS, the workshop aims to develop the skills of volunteers to communicate effectively with the community and how to use tools to assess its needs,
Jamal added: “The IRCS has trained the workshop participants on how to develop future plans in partnership with influencers and community leaders to improve the health services provided to them.
The trainer, Haider Amer, from Diyala branch of the IRCS explained: “The volunteers were picked from governorates most affected by climate change, where the participants in the intensive training workshop, which lasted (4) days, have received the concepts of (CBHFA) and (RCCE), which are relatively recent programs that aim to raise the efficiency of volunteers by teaching them community assessment tools, and raising health awareness among the community and spreading the culture of first aid”.
As the volunteer Sabah Fouad from Salah Al-Din governorate explained, “The theoretical and practical lectures concerning first aid and how to assess the magnitude of disasters and risks that occur in community increased our knowledge balance, so, through field visits and direct meetings with community leaders, we will work to create the appropriate conditions for carrying out activities to advance the health reality.
The volunteer Marwan Kazem from Dhi Qar governorate confirmed: “Dhi Qar governorate, particularly its wetlands, is one of the regions most impacted by climate change, the low water levels, or even their absence, had catastrophic effects on the residents of those areas in all respects, with health being the most important, therefore, it became necessary to take all measures and means to limit the effects of this environmental disaster, the community health awareness programs play an important role in changing the behavior of community and educating them about the dangers of communicable diseases that spread in vulnerable communities that educational media does not reach; therefore, it is our responsibility to share information with this community by giving educational lectures and distributing publications to enhance the community behaviors regarding wrong health habits and their desire to take vaccinations that limit the spread of viruses and epidemic diseases.