Climate-smart health facilities in India
- Organisation: MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child
- Countries: India
- Region: Asia and the Pacific
- Start date: 2021
- End date: Ongoing
- Type of innovation: New or different way of providing a service
Summary of intervention
India is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide after China and the US, and India’s health care sector has the seventh-largest absolute health sector climate footprint in the world.
In response, MAMTA Health Institute for Mother and Child is running several programmes to further the net zero agenda:
- A coalition with sustainable health care experts and Indian private and public health institutions to build climate-resilient and environmentally-sustainable health care facilities through sharing policies and preparedness plans from the Nordic Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.
- Solarisation to create energy-efficient and climate-friendly hospitals by reducing the power outage frequency and duration and reducing environmental hazards by using diesel generators.
- Piloting circular models for hospital waste management in AIIMS, Jodhpur.
MAMTA is developing a model with Swedish agencies that will transition to a circular economy for waste management, including biomedical waste.
Securing adequate resources for climate-resilient health care facilities, solarisation initiatives, and circular waste management was challenging. Engaging and collaborating with stakeholders such as sustainable health care experts, Indian health institutions, and Swedish agencies required extensive coordination and alignment of interests. There is little evidence in this area so developing the right strategy and solutions for climate change adaptation was also a challenge. Much of the focus globally is on mitigation while MAMTA saw the need to focus not only on mitigation, but also on adaptation systems and strategies. Also, the approach to the circular economy in the context of climate change seemed important but applying it to climate change adaptation and mitigation wasn’t clear.
MAMTA learned that dialogues between thematic experts and administrative leaders can benefit public/private health institutions and lead to a more strategic response for transformation and energy-efficient solutions. Further, embracing technological advancements, such as solar energy solutions and circular economy is crucial for achieving energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and positive health outcomes. Though work for the climate-resilient health care system has started, this needs full-force implementation work in every sector to achieve the goal of climate-smart health care systems.
MAMTA will continue to gather data on climate-smart approaches, develop climate-resilient models, work towards climate-smart Indian health facilities, scale up circular models for waste management, and pilot circular economy-based models for developing climate-smart solutions. Additionally, it will foster alliances, advocate for policies, and disseminate knowledge. This will strengthen the health sector as well as communities while ensuring access to clean-independent energy, safe water, clean transport, and clean waste disposal mechanisms. This strategy may serve as the cornerstone for health care’s involvement in more comprehensive policy initiatives that support both global climate and health objectives. Sustainable funding and concerted efforts to promote inter-sectoral and worldwide collaboration are required to further these endeavours.
Sustainability, for MAMTA’s climate change mitigation work, involves environmental, social, economic, and institutional aspects. It means adopting renewable energy and circular waste management practices for reduced environmental impact. It focuses on improving community health, addressing social determinants, and promoting equitable access to healthcare. Economic sustainability is achieved through cost-effective solutions, efficient resource allocation, and circular economy concepts. Through building partnerships, integrating climate action into health care, protecting the environment, enhancing community well-being, and ensuring the longevity of its initiatives MAMTA will work towards long-term institutional sustainability.