NEWS

Climate Change A Threat To Public Health Sector

The Pacific region, faces significant challenges in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. Delivering the keynote address at the Pacific
27 Oct 2015 12:05
Climate Change A Threat To Public Health Sector
Participants at the Pacific Technical Experts and Ministerial Consultation on Strengthening Climate Change through Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health held at the SOFITEL in Nadi. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Pacific region, faces significant challenges in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Delivering the keynote address at the Pacific Technical Experts and Ministerial Consultation on Strengthening Climate Change through Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, yesterday at the Sofitel Resort and Spa in Nadi, Ratu Inoke said this was because of its widely dispersed populations, limited resources and fragmented health systems.

Notably, he said, there had been an increase in international aid for health-related activities in the Pacific that aimed to consolidate adaptive measures to the threats of climate change.

He said Fiji’s Second National Communication (SNC) to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change indicated that a healthy and productive population was a key for sustainable economic development.

“In this regard, climate change is widely regarded as a serious threat to the public health sector. Fiji is vulnerable to adverse climate change impacts due to its small geographical size, exposure to extreme climatic events and small economy,” he said.

According to Ratu Inoke direct impacts of climate change on health include injury, disease and death from extreme heat and cold, cyclones, floods and droughts. Indirect impacts include increase in vector-borne, water-borne, cardiovascular, respiratory and renal diseases.

He said there were also psycho-social impacts from an increase in the range and number of disease spreading vectors, compromised food and water sources, livelihood losses and population displacement.

He urged all fellow ministers and technical experts to contribute as much as they could and share their experiences so that they could derive the following outcomes:

(i) key lessons from current resilience, humanitarian and development approaches especially those related to natural disasters and climate change;

(ii) recommendations on steps towards investments and implementation of the new Every Woman Every Child Every Adolescent Global Strategy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and importantly

(iii) an outcome document with key messages about Pacific island country realities and recommendations for resilient populations, particularly from the standpoint of women, adolescents and children, for the purpose of strengthening their advocacy and political positioning.
Effect of climate change on children, adolescent health.

The current Technical Experts and Ministerial Consultations on Strengthening Climate Change Resilience Through Reproductive, Maternal Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health is paramount for the Fiji and the Pacific.

Ministry of Health director wellness Dr Mecuisela Metuisela said, “It is a very important meeting for the Pacific Islands health workforce especially in addressing reproductive health issues, climate change and how we respond to climate change as far as maternal, child and adolescent health is of concern.”

“According to the reports from our development partners globally there is an effect of climate change on maternal; children and adolescent health. They are the most vulnerable especially during disasters and in conflicts that affect the health for women and our children.”

Dr Metuisela welcomed the new concept implemented for the Pacific by Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan

Feedback:  waisean@fijisun.com.fj

 

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