Climate change is having a massive impact on maternal health
Maternal and reproductive health are most at risk from the effects of climate change. This risk to maternal health also affects the child. The rate of premature births, infants with low birth weight, and stillbirths are on the increase. The economic and environmental impact of climate change also increases the incidence of child marriage among adolescents.
Several specialists on obstetricians and gynecologists set these remarks while attending a scientific conference on ‘Climate Change and Women’s Health.’
The conference got organized by the Obstetric and Gynecological Society of Bangladesh (OSB), an organization of obstetricians and gynecologists at Hotel Sheraton in Banani, Bangladesh. The conference honored five eminent obstetricians and gynecologists of the country.
Domestic and foreign specialist doctors attended the conference both online and physically. They commented that women and children were most affected by the lack of water, food, and fuel due to climate change.
As a result, malnutrition occurs. Suffering from malnutrition makes it impossible to be a development partner. Nutrition provides energy to the human body and increases productivity. Countries responsible for the effects of climate change need to stand by the affected countries. We all have to work together to deal with the climate crisis.
Speaking as a guest at the conference, Abul Basar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, the Director-General of the Health Department, said, “The government is taking various steps to identify the negative effects of climate change.”
Service opportunities got increased at different levels considering the risk to the mother and the unborn child. The use of pesticides got kept under control to keep the food free from toxins. Similarly, attention has got paid to air, water, and environmental pollution.
Presenting an article on ‘Climate Change and Reproductive Health at the conference, TA Chowdhury, former president of OGSB, said that “Despite the reduction of malnutrition rate in Bangladesh, 56 percent of pre-school children are still suffering from malnutrition. In terms of numbers, which is about 9.3 million.
“56 percent of children are underweight. Although the developing countries have the least share in carbon emissions, the countries have to bear the brunt of the negative effects of climate change. Geographical location, overpopulation and poverty have put Bangladesh at greater risk of climate change,” he continued.
“Climate change is causing salinity in saline lands, food crisis, human migration, loss of income, access to education and access to health care, which has a major impact on women and girls. Increases child marriage, reduces access to birth control services, and reduces the chances of pregnant women getting pregnancy services and childbirth services,” he further added.
Professor Ferdousi Begum, President of OGSB, presented an essay on ‘Healthy and Green Recovery.’ In it, she also discusses the issues of financial loss and crisis management due to the effects of climate change.
She informed that “By 2030, the financial sector will lose an estimated 2 billion to 4 billion USD per year in direct health care. Adding health-related agriculture, water and sanitation sectors will further increase the amount of damage.”
“Countries that have weak healthcare infrastructure, especially developing countries, will not be able to respond and prepare for the effects of climate change without proper cooperation,” she added.
“As a result of climate change, food production, food security, sanitation and access to safe water are declining. Rising rates of low birth weight babies, premature births, stillbirths and pregnancies of women, childbirth and other physical complications are on the rise,” she further said.
Jenny Connery, president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), a London-based organization, and Annie Beatrice Kihara, president-elect, joined the conference online. OGSB General Secretary Gulshan Ara gave a welcome address at the conference.