Published December 1, 2023 | Version 1.0
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Summary report. On the frontline of climate change and health: A health worker eyewitness report

  • 1. The Geneva Learning Foundation
  • 2. Biostat Global


This is the Summary report, based on the full report On the frontline of climate change and health: A health worker eyewitness account. A shorter At a glance version is also available, together with a compendium of 50 health worker experiences.

Thanks to a unique event run by the Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF), more than 1200 health workers from the global South had the chance to describe how a changing climate is affecting the health of their local communities. The experiences shared provide a vivid illustration of the reality facing health workers already dealing with the consequences of human-driven climate change.

Registrants for a TGLF experience-sharing event held in July 2023 described multiple climatic and environmental changes they had witnessed locally, with implications for many aspects of health. Key insights from their contributions include:

  • Health impacts are wide-ranging, including increasing malnutrition due to crop failure, a resurgence in infectious diseases, widespread mental health impacts, and reduced access to health services.
  • Climate change is interacting with other environmental disruption, driving ecological changes with multiple implications for health.
  • Communities typically experience multiple climate-related health effects, frequently the result of complex pathways of causation, and often inextricably linked to social disruption such as loss of livelihoods, property or displacement.
  • Certain communities and groups are particularly vulnerable, including children, women and older people, and those such as subsistence farmers and pastoralists who lack the resilience to withstand climate-related challenges.
  • Environmental and health impacts reported are typically not new – climate change is amplifying the existing challenges facing communities with limited capacity to respond.

Registrants also shared stories of how they have worked with communities to protect health and build resilience to climate change, complementing government initiatives. 

By giving a voice to health practitioners working at all levels of the health system, the project has: 

  1. Provided new insights into the realities of climate change in resource-poor settings.
  2. Highlighted the potential for peer learning to facilitate the sharing of knowledge on ways to build community resilience to climate change to protect health, leveraging the respected position of health workers within their communities and their commitment to local community health.
  3. Provided an opportunity to connect country- and community-based actors to global research programmes focused on health impacts.


Summary report.Eye witnesses to a changing world - Climate change and health.10.5281:zenodo.10171063.pdf

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Is derived from
Report: 10.5281/zenodo.8412676 (DOI)