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The health impacts of climate change in the South Pacific Dr Lachlan McIver Climate Change and Health Officer World Health Organization, Division of Pacific.

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Presentation on theme: "The health impacts of climate change in the South Pacific Dr Lachlan McIver Climate Change and Health Officer World Health Organization, Division of Pacific."— Presentation transcript:

1 The health impacts of climate change in the South Pacific Dr Lachlan McIver Climate Change and Health Officer World Health Organization, Division of Pacific Technical Support Suva, Fiji

2 Introduction to climate change and health (CC&H) Human health is susceptible to climate change via multiple, complex pathways (McMichael et al, 2004) The effects of climate change on health are already significant and measurable (McMichael et al, 2006), with an estimated deaths annually attributable to climate change (Kovats et al, 2005) The overall future impact of climate change on human health is likely to be detrimental (WHO, 2009) The effects will be disproportionately borne by vulnerable populations, both in terms of geography (ie. certain countries and regions within countries) and society (ie. the poor, children, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses) (Sheffield et al, 2011).

3 Hughes et al (2011), modified from Capon and Hanna (2009) and Berry et al (2011)

4 CC&H in the South Pacific WHO: “Regional Framework for Action to Protect Human Health from Effects of Climate Change in the South East Asia and Pacific Region” (2007) Pacific Island Health Ministers: “Madang Commitment” (2009) WHO/health sector-led CC&H vulnerability and adaptation assessments in 11 Pacific island countries (2010 – current) National Climate Change and Health Action Plans (NCCHAP’s) Align with National Adaptation Programmes of Action, National Communications to the UNFCCC etc Fiji: 7-country GEF/UNDP/WHO Global CC&H project “Piloting Climate Change Adaptations to Protect Human Health”

5 Priority climate-sensitive health risks in the Pacific CountryHighest priority climate-sensitive health risks Federated States of Micronesia Water- and mosquito-borne diseases, malnutrition FijiDengue fever, typhoid fever, leptospirosis, diarrhoeal disease KiribatiFood (safety, security, food-borne diseases), water (safety, security, water-borne diseases) and vector-borne diseases NauruAir quality, food security, non-communicable diseases PalauVector-borne diseases (dengue), zoonoses (leptospirosis), food security, malnutrition and non- communicable diseases Republic of the Marshall Islands Food-, water- and vector-borne (dengue) diseases, respiratory diseases, malnutrition Solomon IslandsVector-borne diseases (malaria), respiratory diseases TongaDiarrhoeal diseases, vector-borne diseases (dengue), food security/nutrition, non-communicable diseases, injuries and deaths from extreme weather events VanuatuFood- and water-borne diseases

6 PhD project Supervisors: Dr Liz Hanna (Chair), Prof Tony McMichael, Dr David Harley, Dr Keith Dear, Dr Simon Hales (Uni of Otago, NZ) Investigation of the relationship between climate variability and climate-sensitive infectious diseases (CSID’s) in selected case study countries Malaria in the Solomon Islands Diarrhoeal disease in Kiribati Leptospirosis in Fiji Tuberculosis in atoll countries (Tuvalu, RMI, Kiribati) Estimating future burden of CSID’s Discussion of health adaptation planning and health system governance issues in the context of climate change in small island developing states

7 References Berry HL, Hogan A, Owen J, Rickwood D, and Fragar L. Climate Change and Farmers’ Mental Health: Risks and Responses. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health 2011; 23: 119S-132. Capon, A., and Hanna, E. (eds). Climate change: an emerging health issue. NSW Public Health Bulletin 2009; 20 (1-2): 1-4. Kovats RS, Campbell-Lendrum D, Matthies F. Climate change and human health: estimating avoidable deaths and disease. Risk Anal. 2005; 25: 1409–1418 Hughes L, McMichael A. The Critical Decade: Climate change and Health. Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Canberra, 2011 McMichael AJ, Campbell-Lendrum D, Kovats S, Edwards S, Wilkinson P, Wilson T et al. Global Climate Change. In: Ezzati M et al, eds. Comparative Quantification of Health Risks: Global and Regional Burden of Disease due to Selected Major Risk Factors. 2004; World Health Organization, pp McMichael AJ, Woodruff RE, Hales S. Climate change and human health: present and future risks. Lancet 2006; 367: Sheffield PE, Landrigan PJ. Global climate change and children’s health: threats and strategies for prevention. Environ Health Perspect 2011; 119(3): World Health Organization: Protecting health from climate change: connecting science, policy and people. Geneva, 2009


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