Highlighting the importance of Health in Climate Change Adaption : A qualitative content analysis exploring inclusion of health in climate change policies of three pacific island countries
Abstract: Introduction and Aim: Associations between climate change and health have consistently been shown in scientific literature. Despite this, knowledge regarding health adaption policies and inclusion of health implications in climate change policies remain scarce. This thesis aimed to fill the knowledge gap by exploring the extent to which health implications were included in climate change policies of Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands. Methods: The data used in this thesis consisted of National Climate Change Adaption plans for each country. The plans were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Findings: Three themes were found. The first theme discovered was the exclusion of health sector from development of climate change policies. The second theme showed that health was not a top priority, instead sectors contributing more to the economy were addressed with higher concern. Lastly, it was found that health issues are still poorly included in climate change policies, and health implications were not always recognized by policymakers. The study found that the overall recognition of health impacts was quite low, although there were noteworthy differences between plans. Conclusion: The overall recognition of health implications in the plans was low. However, one plan which included health representatives in the early planning stages had a considerably higher recognition of possible health impacts. This suggests that collaboration between all government sectors in climate change policies is important to ensure important aspects are not being missed. Further research is needed regarding climate change adaption and its links to health, to support policymakers in decision-making.
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