Saima Wazed, advisor to the Director General of the WHO for Mental Health and Autism and thematic ambassador for Vulnerability of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, has recommended that the Commonwealth organize a dedicated climate and mental health resilient day at the first-ever Health Day to be held at the COP28.
Saima, also the Regional Director-elect of WHO South-East Asian Regional Office and Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, presented the key-note speech at a roundtable on “Climate Vulnerability and Mental Health: Voices of Women” at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
The Bangladesh High Commission in London and the Commonwealth in partnership with the Shuchona Foundation organised the event on Tuesday, the eve of the Commonwealth Women Leaders' Summit taking place from Nov 15-16, the high commission said in a statement.
She highlighted the significance of climate and mental health resilience and suggested that Commonwealth nations collaborate more closely to address climate-related challenges and their adverse effects on mental health since countries do not have sufficient resources to handle these challenges on their own.
She emphasised the importance of early detection and appropriate management of mental health conditions through a collective approach and global awareness.
Saima also shed light on the state of mental health and universal health coverage in Bangladesh and called for global cooperation with Bangladesh in addressing these growing challenges.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, UK Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rebecca Pow MP, Shadow Minister for Equalities Office Yasmin Qureshi, Conservative MP for Kensington and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing and Homelessness Felicity Buchan, Chair of UK All Party Parliamentary Group for UN Women Baroness Verma and High Commissioner of Bangladesh to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem also spoke on the occasion.
Pow spoke highly of Bangladesh's efforts to address climate change and mental health challenges.
She commended the country's achievements in women's empowerment, girls' education, and primary healthcare under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Patricia Scotland praised Bangladesh's leadership on championing mental health at the Kigali CHOGM 2022 and declaration of the Dhaka-Kigali Mental Health Compact.
The Commonwealth secretary-general also recalled the Commonwealth CVF climate prosperity partnership launched at COP26.
High Commissioner Saida Muna praised the global leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at COP26 as the CVF president in voicing the climate justice, loss and damage and reparations for displaced people due to climate change.