EU, SPC Bolster Kiribati Health Sector

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Secretariat of the Pacific Community Suva, Fiji

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kiribati will soon enjoy improved environmental health surveillance and response to climate sensitive health risks. This follows an agreement reached between the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Government of Kiribati. The € 0.5 million (approx. AUD 0.72 million) health sector support for Kiribati will be delivered through the Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States project (GCCA: PSIS) funded by the European Union (EU).

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) in Kiribati with the support of SPC’s Strategic Engagement, Policy and Planning Facility and Public Health Division.

‘Climate change adaptation is a priority for the health sector and we welcome the implementation of recommendations from the National Climate Change Health Action Plan being implemented under the GCCA: PSIS project’, says Dr. Teatao Tiira, Director for Public Health Services in Kiribati.

The project’s tangible benefits delivered to the people of Kiribati will include the refurbishment of facilities, the provision of additional equipment to the MHMS laboratory, and the establishment of a new laboratory within the MHMS’s Environmental Health Unit (EHU). A comprehensive package of new hospital grade tools, supplies and specialized equipment will boost the national diagnostic capacity. MHMS staff will receive technical assistance and training from specialists in SPC’s Public Health Division, the World Health Organization, and the National Institute for Weather and Atmospheric Research (New Zealand). They will also benefit from the range of Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) services and capacity building activities.

These actions will enable the MHMS and EHU to meet minimum international standards in the areas of food and water safety and vector control. EHU staff will be trained and equipped to monitor and respond to vector-borne disease, especially dengue fever, and other climate-sensitive health impacts such as poor water quality, food poisoning and ciguatera.

Dr. Yvan Souares, Deputy Director of the SPC Public Health Division says, ‘We are very excited to work with the Government of Kiribati on this essential Project. It is an important opportunity to strengthen existing systems in helping Kiribati adapt to the health threats posed by climate change.’

There will also be an outreach component that will deliver a national climate change communications plan for health sensitive risks and provide public education on water and food safety and vector-borne diseases. These activities will include a focus on vulnerable groups, including children, the elderly, people with pre-existing illnesses and people with disabilities.

The EU-funded GCCA: PSIS is a regional project that includes tailored climate change adaption support projects in nine Pacific Island countries. In Kiribati, the focus is health sector support. Climate change adaptation projects are also being implemented by the governments of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu. In each case, the focus of the project is determined by the national government and receives support from GCCA: PSIS.

Rate this article: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Add new comment