23 August 2019
Solomon Islands:� Seeking answers on actions to address the health consequences of a changing climate.
Earlier this month the health impacts of a changing climate were a focus of the13th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting with the gathering acknowledging the �climate crisis� and endorsing a road map to address climate-related threats to health, safe drinking water, sufficient food, a resilient health infrastructure, and secure shelter in the Pacific.
�To address the health threats due to climate, it was seen as being important over the next three years, and vital, that ministries become empowered to advocate for health in national and regional climate change discussions and forums, building country capacity to address climate change and health, and supporting ministries to develop climate mitigation plans with other sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture.
More broadly, the August 6-8 meeting saw Pacific health leaders discuss current and future health challenges, and planned efforts across health security, non communicable diseases (NCDs), universal health coverage, immunization, and water, sanitation and hygiene.
�In tackling the NCD crisis, participants agreed to develop or maintain national NCD task forces involving sectors beyond health, and incorporate action to combat childhood obesity into their national NCD plans. Ministers also acknowledged the dire situation in regards to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the Pacific, the need to understand more about the challenges; and committed to develop a Pacific strategy to address such challenges.
Given that the DCGA administration is just 4 months in office it might be unreasonable to ask of the government for the plans in place now to tackle the issues and concerns over health, in particular, that were raised at the Pacific Health Ministers meeting, but it is hoped that plans will soon be released to say whether a national task force to deal with the NCD crisis is envisaged, or commenced, incorporating actions steps to combat child obesity, plus the measures that will be adopted by the government in ensuring major improvements to water supplies, especially in Honiara, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Also, what planning is in place to further develop, and fund, national health security action plans to fill the existing gaps in emergency preparedness and response capacities, known to currently exist?
Sources WHO reports.