Alarm bell on deadly viruses

Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. Picture: RAMA/FILE

CLIMATE change threatens our very existence and diseases that stem from climate-related events have the ability to kill within a matter of days, says Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

He made the comment while speaking to more than 200 doctors at the 27th Fiji College of General Practitioners annual conference on Friday.

He said with so much focus on NCDs, doctors should not lose sight of the impact of communicable diseases in the aftermath of major climate events.

“It is a known fact that climate change poses a significant threat to human life, not in the future but today, right now,” he said.

“As the climate continues to change, the risk to human health grows, exacerbating existing health threats and creating new public health challenges, impacting more people in more places.

“Remember, NCDs are an issue but we must not put communicable diseases away.

“It is a real threat with climate change – we have rain when it is not supposed to rain, we have cyclones of the degree and capacity that we have never had before.

“Therefore communicable diseases should not be forgotten, we must continue to mitigate because communicable diseases, when there’s an outbreak, people die within a week or within a few day.

“Whereas, with NCDs, the effect happens over a period of time.”

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