Bahrain health system outlined contingency roadmap to tackle climate change

    09 Nov 2021

    The Kingdom of Bahrain reiterated its commitment to continue upgrading its health system to be able to confront any potential impact of climate change.

    This is part of the steps being taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to play an active role in tackling climate challenges and further developing its health system to overcome any future crises, BNA states.

    The Ministry of Health and the Supreme Council for the Environment (SCE) highlighted Bahrain’s drive, which reflects keenness to protect the health of the people of Bahrain.

    The announcement aligns with Bahrain’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

    It is also in response to the call of the United Kingdom Presidency of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to adopt initiatives aimed to build a resilient and environmentally sustainable health system.

    Health Minister Faeqa bint Said Al Saleh and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, SCE Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina affirmed Bahrain’s commitment to upgrading its health system and achieving progress regarding the following points:

    – Study of sea-level rise: which could affect social, political, and economic agendas in Bahrain. The study aims to continuously study the level of threat to Bahrain due to coastal flooding caused by sea-level rise.

    The multi-phased scheme would cover the following stages:

    Phase 1 – Assessing flood risks from sea-level rise, reviewing the available scientific evidence and data on sea-level rise, and providing a preliminary evaluation of land and assets at risk, including health infrastructure in Bahrain.

    Phase  2 – Assessing coastal flood hazards. This would require an exhaustive study into the sources of flood risks associated with sea-level rise and storms. This step would help find ways to reduce the death toll and contain the potential outbreaks of diseases related to storms.

    Phase 3 – Impact on the national infrastructure – This phase would require a thorough assessment of the potential impact of sea-level rise on crucial national infrastructure and assets, including health care centers and hospitals.

    Phase 4 – Developing a viable contingency strategy aimed to mitigate the detrimental impact, exploring options that must be considered to protect Bahrain’s healthcare infrastructure.

     -The National Afforestation Plan:

    Bahrain’s thermal satellite images were taken to determine the hot areas and establish a list of trees and plants that can endure Bahrain’s heat without requiring much water or affecting the infrastructure.

    A pilot program was carried out to assess the impact of afforestation, in one of the main roads, in addition to some tourist areas, central markets, and residential zones.

    The action plan will be further expanded to include the type and percentage of green spaces, in addition to initiatives aimed to encourage citizens and residents to plant trees.

    Building permits will also be reviewed to include landscaping. Lowering the temperature will contribute to reducing heat stress-related illnesses and increasing the quality of well-being in Bahrain.

    – National Adaptation Investment Plan (NAIP):

    Bahrain’s national adaptation planning efforts aim to enhance the capacity to face the risks of climate change and tackle the urgent needs resulting from climatic volatility.

    Improving food and water security would also play a vital role in bettering people’s health in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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    Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE aim to reach net-zero carbon emissions in 2060 – read more about COP26 announcements here.

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