Universal access to healthcare is foundational to Canada, yet accessibility to healthcare remains a challenge in rural and remote communities, primarily in indigenous populations. Disproportionately higher rates of hospitalisations and mortality are caused by chronic diseases among people living in rural areas compared with urban areas; within otolaryngology, indigenous populations have a higher prevalence of ear disease and hearing loss.

The United Nations climate change statement is clear: "Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment.” Healthcare contributes approximately 5% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, surgical care services and the supply chain associated with those services is a significant contributor and, per capita, Canada has one of the highest rates of GHG emissions. Immediate action is required.

The Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery remains committed to rectifying these inequities. Members reach out to rural and remote, First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities to provide care. We have ratified a statement on climate change advocating for tangible commitments to improve planetary health; we promote primary health and prevention strategies to improve the value in healthcare provision. Yet we must learn from others, including the UK net zero health services pledge.

These issues, although germane to Canadians, are not unique to Canada. We have but started on the path. We need to do more. We will do more.

Latest Contribution

Sustainable Practice

Guest Section Editor Brian D Westerberg, MD, FRCSC, MHSc, Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada; Head, Division of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Providence Health Care, Vancouver, Canada. Climate change is the greatest threat to human health today....

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