The ISC-GH Chair provided an update on recent COVID-19 vaccine equity discussions and emphasized the importance of using lessons learned from the current pandemic to inform how the global community prepares for future pandemics. The ISC-GH Chair also provided an update on recent international engagements, including the G7 and World Health Assembly.
SAC-GH members provided an update on their climate change and global health work. The aim of the work is to better understand research priorities in climate change and global health for Canada, including evidence related to equity considerations and humanitarian crisis contexts. Discussions on a climate change and global health synthesis to be produced by the SAC-GH will continue during the SAC-GH’s next meeting, provisionally scheduled for November.
To frame the topic for the day’s discussion, the Public Health Agency of Canada outlined how they create and use evidence to make decisions in a constantly changing environment, using Canada’s Border Testing Program as a case study example.
A SAC-GH member presented findings from the Evidence Commission’s Report, tasked with reporting on whether and how evidence is used to address societal challenges. The Evidence Commission is an independent panel of commissioners whose aim is to bring diverse points of view to influence and spur action and decisions about whether and how evidence is used to address societal challenges. The presenter highlighted the need for a formalized evidence-support system that is grounded in a national context, demand-driven, and focused on contextualizing evidence in an equity-sensitive way. The presenter also advocated for stronger connections between researchers and government decision makers to further the conversation on how Canada can increase its role in global health internationally.
Important to give voice to individuals who can bring an equity perspective to interpreting what the evidence means for particular groups, and to include Indigenous ways of knowing in evidence generation and decision-making processes.
Multi-systemic and holistic approaches (e.g., One Health) to evidence synthesis was noted as an effective way to enhance evidence gathering and to give voice to evidence from disciplines beyond the human-health field.
ISC-GH members requested advice on when to insert evidence in the decision-making process, and identifying the best form of evidence, given how rapidly decisions need to be made, especially during crises. SAC-GH members highlighted the value of living evidence syntheses, process that permits new research findings to be continually incorporated into evidence synthesis, and consulting stakeholders (i.e., people and groups affected by, and who have a role to play in, health-related programs).
The next SAC-GH meeting will be held in fall 2022.
January 12, 2022 – Theme: Climate Change and Global Health
Two new members (Prof. Hélène Carabin and Prof. Srinivas Murthy) were welcomed to the SAC-GH.
Each ISC-GH member spoke about their organization's priorities in relation to the committee's current topic of interest and inquiry, climate change and global health.
SAC-GH members noted the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches in the context of global health from a holistic, multisector and interdisciplinary perspective. They noted that research is limited on the intersection between climate change and global health.
Whether in Canada or in a developing context, the importance of using an equity lens was stressed, as was the need to focus on people experiencing conditions of vulnerabilities (e.g., gender, refugees, youth, rural population).
The importance of conducting a systematic synthesis of the existing evidence on climate change and health was noted, in order to understand innovations and evidence gaps, and to link climate change to health systems, mitigation, adaptation and other relevant dimensions. Developing a summary of evidence to date will be an important first step.
Applying equity and feminist approaches to research and policy on climate change and global health is key to understanding the existing gaps in various contexts. It is also important to look at inequities in between regions of the world, as well as create pathways to use this evidence to affect large-scale change.
Universal health coverage (UHC) is central to mitigating a number of threats, including climate change and health. It is important to address inequities and strengthen health systems' response to stresses, especially in the context of resilience, mitigation and adaptation.
Training, capacity-strengthening and education are key to advancing knowledge in the area of climate change and health, but options for doing so are limited.
Discussions will continue on the topic of climate change and global health in the SAC-GH's next meeting.