Climate Change Advocacy is Global Health Advocacy

COVID-19 pandemic reveals scarcity in resources to maintain good hygiene, health

Posted on Mar 19, 2021

staff walk along road following a home visit in rural Malawi
Agness Dyson (left) carries a bag of potatoes grown by her family as a gift to PIH caregivers in Neno, Malawi. Regular access to food is one link between climate change and global health. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health

At Partners In Health, Earth Day is a moment to reflect on the intersection of climate change and global health, in that those most affected by natural disasters and disease are often marginalized communities.

That’s why PIH, more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, is urging greater global collaboration so that work toward climate justice prioritizes the world’s most vulnerable and addresses health concerns that extend far beyond clinical care.

“All rights and social justice issues are interdependent and therefore require collective action,” said Joel Curtain, PIH’s director of advocacy. “Achieving health equity also requires environmental, social, racial, and economic justice.”

As a social justice organization that strengthens health systems, provides and supports medical care, and trains local health care workers in 11 countries around the world, PIH has a firsthand view of how the global climate crisis affects human health—from the increased frequency of devastating natural disasters to rising air pollution, food insecurity, and clean water scarcity.

PIH staff and clinicians see the evidence through cholera outbreaks after devastating floods; HIV and tuberculosis epidemics fueled by malnutrition and air pollution; and rampant malaria amid severe rainy seasons, floods, and deadly storms.

And now, as the world battles COVID-19 and scrambles for resources like clean water to maintain good hygiene, it has never been more evident that pandemics highlight inequality and injustice on a global level—and the communities that bear the greatest burdens are those that systemically have received the least support.  

In recognition of Earth Day, PIH strongly believes that we can cure the world's worst injustices, together, by addressing planetary health as essential to humanity’s health—and ensuring health as a human right.

Dr. Paul Farmer sharing a friendly moment with one of his staff.

Paul's Promise

As we mourn the passing of our beloved Dr. Paul Farmer, we also honor his life and legacy.

PIH Founders - Jim Kim, Ophelia Dahl, Paul Farmer

Bending the Arc

More than 30 years ago, a movement began that would change global health forever. Bending the Arc is the story of Partners In Health's origins.

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