Pacific health ministers focus on health impacts of a changing climate

President of French Polynesia Mr Édouard Fritch, French Polynesia’s Minister of Health Dr Jacques Raynal, SPC Director General Dr Colin Tukuitonga, and WHO Western Pacific Regional Director Dr Takeshi Kasai alongside Ministers and senior officials from Pacific island countries and areas, at the 13th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting. Picture: SUPPLIED/SPC

THE world is facing a climate crisis and the Pacific is on the front line says World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He highlighted this during the 13th  Pacific Health Ministers meeting held at Pape’ete, French Polynesia where the focus was on health impacts of a changing climate held from August 6-8.

He said elicit action we must reframe climate change as a health issue.

The effects of climate change on human health are much more immediate, including death and disease caused by extreme weather events, heat stress, waterborne and foodborne diseases, malnutrition and more,” he said.

A roadmap was endorsed during the meeting to address climate-related threats to safe drinking water, sufficient food, resilient health infrastructure and secure shelter within the Pacific region.

Pacific Community’s (SPC) Director General Dr Colin Tukuitonga highlighted the various challenges being faced by the region.

“Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing desire from countries to take leadership and ownership of the work to address health through strengthening the regional health architecture.”

“In the face of these challenges, a ‘business as usual’ approach will not be good enough, said WHO’s Dr Kasai, “addressing the challenges we face will require greater creativity, more innovation and stronger partnerships than ever before.”

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