CNMI Healthcare Corp Conducts Seminar About Climate Change Health Impacts

All stakeholders to be engaged in prevention, prepareness 

By Lori Lyn C. Lirio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 26, 2017) – The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation-Public Health and Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program on Monday at the Pacific Islands Club held a one-day seminar on prevention and emergency preparedness for climate-related health threats.

Program director Warren Villagomez said the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects or BRACE seminar dealt with the impact of climate change on human health as well as strategies and policy priorities for public health agencies.

According to CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna, combating the effects of climate change has become a growing concern, adding that the CNMI and other Pacific Islands are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

She said “by building capacity with the Office of the Governor’s Climate Change Initiative, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, the Bureau of Environmental Health, Public Health Emergency Preparedness and other public health programs, insular area health agencies will assist in reducing climate-related morbidity and mortality. It will help our community fully identify and assess climate-related health threats and will increase communication and information sharing among insular areas, the federal government, and other state/local governments and partnerships.”

Villagomez said the initial phase involves planning and partnering with government agencies and stakeholders.

“This means sharing our expertise to address possible health threats to the community caused by climate change.”

He said the second phase will involve participation from the business sector and professionals.

CNMI climate change coordinator Richard Salas noted the importance of collaboration between government agencies and stakeholders “so we will be able to prevent the impacts from affecting society.”

He added, “It is important that we take into account all the effects of climate change. This particular workshop is the beginning of a partnership with Public Health. It’s a good start to have a relationship among all agencies that are involved because climate change affects our community and it is going to affect every aspect of the government. So it is important that there be involvement from every sector.”

He said climate change and public health issues cannot be solved by one particular agency. “It takes community effort as a whole and collaboration at various levels. It requires multiple types of expertise.”

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