Dr James Hospedales

Dr James Hospedales, former executive director of CARPHA, and former coordinator, Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, has partnered with medics and nurses around the world to declare November 4 as Earth Medic and Earth Nurse Day.

The Earth Medic and Earth Nurse non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were launched in July 2020, as a partnership between Dr Hospedales and Nurse Maggie Fay of the UK, to focus on health and environment-related concerns.

Dr Hospedales said: “EarthMedic and EarthNurse are declaring an EM&EN day as a direct response to global nursing and medical organisations’ positions on climate change.”

The World Medical Association stated in October 2019: “Health professionals have an important role in advocating to protect the health of citizens around the world, and therefore have a responsibility to demand greater action on climate change.”

The International Council of Nurses has said: “Climate change presents the single largest threat to global development with the potential to undermine the past 50 years of public health gains. Nurses can make a powerful contribution to both mitigate climate change and to support people and communities around the world to adapt to its impacts.”

Locally, the T&T Medical Association and Registered Nurses Association are on board, with an EarthNurse Trinidad and Tobago chapter being formed.

EarthMedic and EarthNurse are being established ‘to raise urgent attention to and resources for action to improve planetary health, working with an informed and empowered health workforce globally, and through public-private-people-planet (PPPP) partnerships, which focus on areas of co-beneficial action’.

“EarthMedic & EarthNurse speaks out about climate change and seeks to protect health professionals who are speaking out on climate change. We are a home for nurses and doctors and others who are concerned about the climate and health crisis.”

November 4 is being declared as EarthMedic and EarthNurse Day, to celebrate the efforts by health care professionals around the world, as they work tirelessly to improve the health of people and the environment in which we all live. The date was chosen as the anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change coming into force on November 4, 2016, an agreement in which Caribbean governments played a key role in the negotiation outcome, to keep global warming well below 2.0 degrees Celsius.