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Diabetes, climate change and global health -

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A session at this year’s annual meeting of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, Sweden (September 19-23) focuses on how to mitigate the environmental impact of diabetes care. The presentation will be presented by Dr Fiona Adhead, Chair, Alliance for Sustainable Healthcare, Newton Abbot, UK.

“In the past few months, the impact of climate change has become apparent as floods, fires and heat waves are part of our daily news,” says Dr. Adshead. “The human cost is huge and yet the stark reality is that climate change is man-made. Solving this crisis requires transformative change. Every country needs to undergo a green transition to achieve a net zero economy. Every sector needs to act, and healthcare must play its part.” .

“First do no harm” is the core value underpinning healthcare, yet the unintended consequence of introducing it is its contribution to global warming. It is estimated that healthcare contributes 4.4% of net global greenhouse gas emissions, so any green national transformation must include a Zero Zero Health System.

Achieving a net zero health system ultimately depends on clinical transformation, and how care is delivered that not only improves health outcomes and financial efficiency, but also reduces environmental impact. In fact, consideration of environmental impact should become part of every health care decision.

Dr. Adshead discusses:

  • How the UK’s National Health Service became a Zero Zero health system and put it in a global context.
  • Why the Alliance for Sustainable Healthcare was set up by the NHS to bring companies together to respond to the evidence that pharmaceutical products and medical devices were responsible for much of the NHS carbon footprint.
  • How the group, by sharing data and expertise, was able to create the first of its kind in the world Greenhouse Gas Life Cycle Assessment Guidelines on how to measure the carbon footprint of drugs and medical devices; One of the basic building blocks of environmental impact assessment.
  • Opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of diabetes care will be highlighted by a case study (with more information here) referring to Novo Nordisk, a major manufacturer of diabetes and obesity medicines, which shows how Care pathway assessment methodology Guidelines have been applied to diabetes, through ‘take-back’ schemes and the emerging field of reducing its impact Clinical trials.
  • Finally, it shows how the many facets of international cooperation accelerate action and bring stakeholders together for transformative change.

Dr. Adshead says that Addressing the environmental impact of diabetes care is integral to the transition towards zero-zero health systems in the future, and today’s tools, collaboration, and partnerships can help make this happen.

“Every healthcare decision needs to reduce environmental impact as well as improve health outcomes, and we know from case studies that reducing environmental impact can improve health outcomes at the same time,” she says.

“Clinical trials are key to developing new and innovative treatments. Globally, we estimate that they generate about 100 megatonnes of CO2.”2 emissions per year, roughly the same as that of the whole of Belgium. Minimizing their impact is key and that’s why we’re developing an approach to help achieve this. One aspect we are looking at is reducing the travel footprint associated with clinical trials.”

Dr. Fiona Addhead, Chair of the Sustainable Healthcare Alliance. Tel) +44 7850 515759 H)

Alternate contact: Tony Kirby at EASD Media Center. Tel) +44 7834 385827 H)

This work will be part of the EASD compression that is forbidden to zoom in/out place in 12 noon Stockholm time on Tuesday 20 September. To join the Zoom event, click the link below at this time.

Dr. Adshead will give her presentation during the session. Diabetes and Climate Change: Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 17:30 – 18:30, Nobel Hall

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