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Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020496

Climate Change and Healthcare Sustainability in the Agincourt Sub-District, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region, South Africa

1
Department of Psychology, University of South Africa, PO Box 392, Pretoria 0003, South Africa
2
Sustainable Urban Development Programme, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JA, UK
3
Géographie-cités, UMR 8504, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 75006 Paris, France
4
IDEES, UMR 6266, CNRS, IRED, Mont-Saint-Aignan, 76781 Rouen, France
5
LabEx DynamiTe, 75005 Paris, France
6
Africa Health Placements, PO Box 351, Parklands, Johannesburg 2121, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policy)
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Abstract

As low-income communities are most vulnerable to climate-associated health concerns, access to healthcare will increase in importance as a key priority in South Africa. This study explores healthcare sustainability in the Agincourt sub-district, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region in Mpumalanga, South Africa. A rapid assessment and response methodology (RAR) was implemented, which includes the examination of previous studies conducted in the sub-district, the mapping of healthcare facilities in the area, and the implementation of a facility infrastructure and workforce capacity investigation by means of key informant (KI) interviews at eight healthcare facilities. Findings indicate that the greatest need across the facilities relate to access to medical doctors and pharmacists. None of the facilities factored climate associations with health into their clinical care strategies. The necessity to train healthcare facility staff on aspects related to climate change, health, and sustainability is highlighted. Environmental health practitioners should also be incorporated in grassroots community climate adaptation strategies. Outcomes further indicate the need for the advancement of integrated healthcare and climate adaptation strategies that focus on strengthening healthcare systems, which may include novel technological approaches such as telemedicine. Policy makers need to be proactive and pre-emptive in finding and improving processes and models to render healthcare services prepared for climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; healthcare; sustainability; healthcare system strengthening; low-income communities; Agincourt; South Africa climate change; healthcare; sustainability; healthcare system strengthening; low-income communities; Agincourt; South Africa
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dos Santos, M.; Howard, D.; Kruger, P.; Banos, A.; Kornik, S. Climate Change and Healthcare Sustainability in the Agincourt Sub-District, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region, South Africa. Sustainability 2019, 11, 496.

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