COP 28: Empowering frontline heroes, the ClimateCare Champions programme, backed by Swasti, The Health Catalyst, and GCCHE, equips community health workers to safeguard vulnerable communities from the health threats posed by climate change
The ClimateCare Champions programme, a collaborative initiative by Swasti, The Health Catalyst, and the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (GCCHE), Columbia University, was launched at COP28 on its Health Day. This programme aims to equip community health workers (CHWs) with the knowledge and skills needed to address the impact of climate change on core geographies of India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and beyond.
Climate change poses severe risks to air quality, food, and water security and amplifies the prevalence of infectious and chronic diseases. To address these challenges, the ClimateCare Champions programme targets vulnerable populations, such as new and expectant mothers, infants, and outdoor and factory workers. This emphasis underscores its commitment to building climate-resilient communities and safeguarding the health of those most at risk.
The programme has two objectives. Firstly, it aims to empower Community Health Workers (CHWs) with the expertise to efficiently screen, detect, refer, and prevent health issues related to climate change in their communities.
Secondly, it provides specialised training to improve the CHWs' communication and advocacy skills, enabling them to act as reliable messengers and advocate with decision-makers in both the public and private sectors. They will promote localised interventions that address specific public health risks posed by climate change.
The programme adopts flexible, hybrid delivery modes comprising in-person and digital elements. It is grounded in globally benchmarked research published in top journals and employs a contextualised curriculum and delivery tailored for local communities in the Global South.
Swasti is a Health Catalyst that aims to achieve 100 million healthy days for vulnerable communities. Swasti was established in 2004 to develop, adapt, or scale innovative solutions to create transformative changes in the lives of the poorest communities.
The Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (GCCHE) was launched in early 2017. It was born from a meeting at the December 2015 COP-21 conference in Paris, where a special session was held to highlight the need for greater investment in the study of and planning for the health impacts of climate change. The GCCHE supports curriculum development education and coordinates activities among members on this vital mission.