The crisis caused by COVID-19 is representative of a larger problem that will only worsen with climate change and environmental degradation caused by human activity. Rapid demographic, environmental, social, technological changes will likely accelerate the spread of several infectious diseases1 . Combined with the health impacts of extremes in temperature, and in climatic and weather events, they have the potential to cause a severe strain on the health care system, particularly in growing economies with adverse implications for the poor2.

On the one hand, the poor are disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic, and on the other, they are reliant on a primary healthcare system, which in developing contexts today, lacks the resources and facilities required to provide adequate, affordable and quality care for basic health needs. Alongside combating climate change to mitigate the adverse health impacts, it is important to also strengthen systems on the ground to better deal with these adverse conditions.