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Climate and health

Creating climate change-resilient systems to promote better health outcomes for women, adolescents and children

Climate change is the greatest and most pressing global challenge of our time. It affects everything, including health and wellbeing. And because climate change exacerbates gender inequality, it can affect women and children the most severely.

Climate change is a far-reaching issue and our work on climate change reflects this. It includes:

  • Working long-term with our partners to apply a systems lens to climate change and build stronger, more climate-resilient health systems.
  • Building connections across systems and sectors, bringing people together to develop shared solutions and innovations which support people and planet to thrive
  • Applying a climate lens to our programmes to ensure they support those who need it most, including women and children
  • Scaling innovations which support greater equity and inclusion and preparedness and response to natural disasters and public health emergencies.

We do this by:

  • Designing health infrastructure with climate resilience in mind
    Options works with governments and partners to create and strengthen shock resilient and climate-sensitive health systems and support inclusive, data-driven climate adaptation and mitigation across the health sector. Options’ Nepal Health Sector Support Programme has been at the forefront of retrofitting and designing safe and welcoming hospitals and health facilities that can withstand earthquakes of high magnitude, all while reducing energy loads and pollution.
  • Enabling clean growth and mitigating environmental risk
    An increase in climate change-induced hazards is a reality. Options provides advice and support to national and subnational governments to assess vulnerability to climate change-induced hazards such as flood or fire and mitigate environmental risk, with the needs and rights of the most vulnerable and marginalised populations at the forefront. We adapt policy and national construction guidelines for health infrastructure to ensure that buildings are suitable for projected changes in climatic conditions and support local and global aims to reduce waste and emissions.
  • Increasing access to clean, reliable and renewable energy and WASH services
    Options supports governments, communities and partners to address energy, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) gaps in the health sector using renewable, energy-efficient solutions. This includes designing financial incentives in the health sector. This reduces the burden on mains systems, enhances climate resilience and reduces carbon emissions and pollution, while also cutting energy-related costs in health facilities. This reduces the strain on already over-stretched budgets and improves the quality of care provided to women and their newborns.
  • Convening coalitions and building capacity to use evidence to drive climate action
    If we are to make a difference, every sector must act to address climate change. Options builds capacity to use data to drive climate action, influence policy, promote clean growth and reduce the health system’s own carbon footprint. We convene coalitions of multi-stakeholder groups across sectors, civil society and community groups for improved awareness and action in the health sector. We build the leadership capacity and agency of stakeholders to use evidence to hold governments to account and ensure resources are used in the best possible way.
  • Enhancing health system adaptation, preparedness and response
    Options believes in strong multi-sectoral engagement to address the interconnections between public health, animal health, agriculture, and environment, using a ‘One Health’ approach to reduce opportunities for future infectious disease outbreaks. Options is a critical partner to federal and subnational governments in managing the response to the COVID-19 emergency, strengthening day-to-day resilience as well supporting responsiveness to acute crises. We used our COVID-19 readiness tool in several countries to assess facilities’ ability to prepare and respond to the outbreak, including designing COVID-19 treatment wards at major hospitals. During the Ebola crisis, we improved management of vital laboratory data in Sierra Leone to ensure lifesaving Ebola test results could be turned around more quickly.
  • Enabling communities in urban centres to thrive
    In cities vulnerable to climate change and with growing urban poor populations, Options supports decision-makers to make evidence-informed decisions to achieve improved health and wellbeing for urban communities. Building healthy cities requires an integrated and coordinated approach across multiple sectors to map and assess city health (disease prevalence, population, health facilities), identify service gaps, and align priorities and budgets. 
For more information:

Our experts

  • Bethany Brady
    Bethany provides strategic leadership by ensuring high-quality delivery across broad thematic areas and leveraging strategic partnerships to enhance social return on investments, all with the aim of overcoming complex global challenges. Bethany has worked in global health and social development across Africa and Asia and is passionate about developing strong teams that support learning and delivery across programmes, for amplified impact.
  • Eva Rahman
    Eva has over 20 years’ experience in business and partnership development, strategic communications and global health and development. This includes health systems strengthening, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and climate adaptation and mitigation approaches. She brings this rich experience to managing the New Business and Partnerships team and overseeing the pipeline of new opportunities for Options.
  • Kenneth Macharia
    Kenneth has over 21 years’ international experience designing programmes, developing and executing effective business strategies for revenue and market share growth in the UK and Africa. Kenneth is part of the Kenya Programme Management team, supporting the Director of Programmes with strategic planning and programme quality assurance. He drives strategic growth for Options in Kenya and the wider region.
  • Shanti Mahendra
    Shanti is a health systems specialist with over 20 years’ experience in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in maternal and newborn health and survival. This includes complex sector-wide budget support programmes, cutting-edge research and multi-country monitoring/evaluation projects. Shanti applies her grassroots experience to provide strategic technical direction, supporting programmes to be both evidence-driven and locally-rooted.
  • Amina Ahmad-Shehu
    Amina is a public health expert with over 25 years’ experience working in complex, low-resource settings in the government and non-governmental sectors providing leadership and technical support to ensure the delivery of quality health and development services. She is focused on building a solid platform for er team and their various programmes, to meaningfully contribute to the development and strengthening of Nigeria’s health system.

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