The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a detailed new Guidance for Climate Resilient and Environmentally Sustainable Health Care Facilities. The Guidance is designed to be adapted to the needs and particular challenges of local healthcare systems and must be used with flexibility, to enable it to adapt to changing circumstances, such as the current pandemic. As such it is a model of how operations could be improved and should not be interpreted as a "prescription with expected actions."
The Guidance is quite unequivocal in stating: "Whether large or small, all health care facilities can improve their operations while addressing key environmental concerns." It builds on WHO's Operational Framework for Building Climate Resilient Health Systems by focusing on opportunities for all healthcare facilities to enhance their resilience to climate change whilst also taking steps to improve their environmental sustainability.
Breaking the subject down further, the Guidance provides expanded information and suggested interventions across what it calls the "four fundamental requirements for providing safe and quality care in the context of climate change." These are:
• Adequate numbers of skilled people who are empowered and informed to respond to environmental challenges, with decent working conditions
• Sustainable and safe management of water, sanitation, hygiene and healthcare waste services
• Sustainable energy services
• Appropriate infrastructure, technologies, products and processes, including all the operations that allow for the efficient functioning of a healthcare facility.