2023 JFIPP Research Fellow - Smritima Diksha Lama

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Smritima Diksha Lama

Consultant, G20 Secretariat, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India

[Project Title]
Understanding Health Emergencies and Climate Change: A comparative perspective of India, Australia and Japan

Project Summary

Covid-19 has transpired into an unprecedented challenge confronting the global community and resulted in catastrophic ramifications going beyond the health sector, but it also provided a significant opportunity to understand the vulnerabilities and gaps in the global health ecosystem. Today, health systems around the world are still in the process of recovery, reformation, and rejuvenation and global health communities are striving to build agile, whole-of-government, fit-for-purpose, resilient health systems across national, regional and global levels. All this in the hope that we are better prepared to effectively and efficiently respond to any future health emergencies.

The project aims to explore the linkages between health and climate change such that we understand the impact of climate change on health especially in the context of health emergencies. Climate change is said to compound risks to human health including both vector and pathogen distributions; anthropogenic factors such as unsustainable use of natural resources, habitat destruction, growing urbanisation, changing land use patterns etc further contribute to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Hence, future global climate risks [heat stress, water scarcity, food security and flood risk]; malnutrition as a result of food scarcity; mortality & morbidity related to extreme weather events, water contamination, vector-borne diseases, microbial threats, mental health are all interconnected and indicate the extent of impact climate change has on human health.

In order to build resilient health systems especially in response to rising cases of zoonotic spill overs and consequently emerging and re-emerging diseases, there is a need to identify new and address the existing drivers of health emergencies. Global discussions have underscored the need to strengthen existing infectious disease surveillance systems, including at the community level, duly integrating collaborative and inclusive One Health Approach.

The study will explore and examine multifaceted relationship between climate change and health emergencies in three different context settings. The research will primarily focus on three crucial comparable parameters viz, policies, institutions and practices in across three countries in order to examine and assess as to where these three countries actually converge and also diverge. In the process an attempt will be made to identify the lessons to be learnt including best practices, policies to replicate and also understand the structures and orientations of the institutions that have been designed and established to deal with health emergencies in these three countries.

What We Do