7 August 2019
Health impacts of climate change in the Solomon Islands.
Assessments reports, globally, have forecast increased mortality and morbidity as a consequence of climate change.ï¿½ It is increasingly important for the Solomon Islands to identify and evaluate the likely changes in the environment and the impact direct and indirect on the already over-stretched health services to the community.
The Marshall Islands declared a health emergency today following an outbreak of dengue fever and the Cook Islands has had 69 cases of dengue fever up to 30 June this year, illness clearly associated with climate change bringing flooding and areas of stagnant water.
In the Solomon Islands specific diseases have been linked to climate and or weather patterns including malaria, mental illness, malnutrition, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, micronutrient deficiency, parasitic diseases due to poor sanitation, tuberculosis, leprosy and non-communicable diseases.
ï¿½The health status of Solomon Islanders is complex, as the country is among those experiencing the so-called ï¿½epidemiological transitionï¿½, with substantial impacts from both communicable diseases (including malaria and tuberculosis) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, diabetes and circulatory diseases,ï¿½ quoting a health report issued in the Solomons in 2009
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said of the Solomon Islands in 2013, quote:
ï¿½The health and well-being of the community are determined by the social and economic circumstances and the environment Further, health is dependent on the activities of a range of private and public sectors including those affecting the biophysical environment, transport, energy supply, and food supply. As these sectors can impact on health they need to be included in processes to determine the direct and indirect risks of climate change on human health and the development of potential adaptation strategies.ï¿½
The determining factors for public health, as identified by the WHO must weigh on the minds of the new Solomon Islands government ministers and it is very much hoped they will be taken on board and somehow the necessary action is taken to provide for the health and well-being of the community, as the impact of climate change is growing and especially as government funds are perceived as inadequate to meet the adaptation measures clearly identified.
Furthermore, the challenges to the economic and social development of the Solomon Islands include its dispersed population, dependence on international aid and trade, and its susceptibility to natural disasters.