Climate change key in achieving SDGs

Fiji's Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete in Geneva. Picture: SUPPLIED

“CLIMATE change is a key factor that not only impedes the achievement of SDG3 on Health and SDG5 on Water and Sanitation but other SDGs as well,” says Fiji’s Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

During an interview with the UNSDG Health Partnership and CNBC TV on the theme ‘Health Matters: Vision 2030’, Dr Waqainabete brought to light the dual challenges of climate change on health in the context of Small Island Developing States.

He said not only did extreme weather events and rising sea level have implications on infrastructure, “communicable diseases which we thought had left our shores are outbreaking, causing additional burden”.

According to a government statement, the interview follows on from Dr Waqainabete’s continued active participation at the World Health Assembly Plenary, side events, and meetings, including Fijis successful Chairing of the 2019 Commonwealth Health Ministers meeting.

In view of the SDG on Health, Water and Sanitation, he said Fiji had a robust primary health care facilities rooted in the communities and the peripheries.

“We now work on enhancing these facilities to ensure resilience, coherence and coordination but we are weary of the strength and the frequency of climate extremes which could make this task daunting,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“Fiji is on the roadmap towards realising the SDG goals, however, we have challenges given our geographical location, human resources noting global demand for health officials, and economy of scale for small island nations.

“Through partnerships, we could work together to address Universal Health Coverage and expedite the achievements of relevant SDG goals.”

UNSDG Health Partnership was born out of the ambition to bring major innovation and transformation to healthcare policies and delivery, with the enhanced use of Digital Health.

This global platform has been established for leaders and institutions who have been impatient with the slow pace towards change concerning SGD3 Health 2030 targets and goals, in the national and global healthcare delivery.

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