Over the past 2 days, the Technical Experts have been reflecting on strengthening health systems and on areas relating to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.
It has been identified that existing health systems require strengthening mechanisms in the Pacific for increasing resilience. Strengthening health systems will allow the Pacific to cope with the health threats posed by climate.
The meeting objectives have been to introduce the renewed Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, a key delivery platform for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and identify steps towards implementation and investment in the Global Strategy for the Pacific Island Countries.
While reflecting on the impacts of climate change on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) and the RMNCAH contribution to the resilience of Pacific Island populations to climate change.
*This is being hosted by the Fiji Ministry for Health and Medical Services, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola during his opening remarks
Participants have been encouraged to plan and implement interventions that will strengthen climate change resilience as the Pacific region faces significant challenges in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change because of widely dispersed populations, limited resources and fragmented health systems.
These were the words of the Hon. Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Foreign Affairs as he officially opened the 3 day Technical Experts and Ministerial Consultations on Strengthening Climate Change Resilience through Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in Nadi, on Monday.
“Climate change is widely regarded as a serious threat to the public health sector. Fiji is vulnerable to adverse climate change impacts due to its small geographical size, exposure to extreme climatic events and small economy.”
Mr Kubuabola said that the Fijian Constitution provides a framework for the development of a modern and progressive state. Among the Constitution’s major provisions is the Bill of Rights guaranteeing a range of civil and political rights and for the first time in Fiji’s history, provision of social and economic rights. Embodying the SDGs, these rights include the right to education, housing, food and water, health and social security and environmental rights guaranteeing every person the right to a clean and healthy environment.
“Strong Pacific leadership is crucial to ensure the full implementation of climate change resilience strategies”, Mr Kubuabola added.
The Hon. Minister for Health & Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate visited the Nasau Health Center and Tokaimalo Nursing Station in Ra to identify areas that need improvement.
During the visits Mr Usamate was updated on issues such as, transportation, water supply, access to health facilities, medicine supplies, and health facilities/staff quarters requiring renovations.
“These visits are necessary to ensure that health facilities are providing efficient services to our people. At the same time it also gives us an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with these health staff and to gauge whether these facilities are in need of essential items, renovations or other general matters”, said Mr Usamate.
Mr Usamate noted that transportation, access to health facilities, and safe water supply is a concern in this area.
For instance, villages around Nasau Health Center and Tokaimalo Nursing Station are facing difficulties with proper and safe water supply. In the meantime, the Health Ministry has supplied some water filters to villages in its attempt to address water borne illnesses. This issue has also been in discussion with the Water Authority of Fiji.
Apart from this, there are future plans to relocate Tokaimalo Nursing Station closer to where the villages are. Currently, a river has to be crossed to reach the Nursing Station which cannot be accessed should it be flooded. This proposed relocation of the nursing station is scheduled for 2017.
“These health facilities are serving our people in the interiors of Ra and I must commend the work done so far by our health staff. I have heard from our staff posted at these two facilities how much effort they put in especially when it comes to reaching out to villages and communities”, Mr Usamate said.
Meanwhile, Nasau Heath Center caters for a population of 2061 people comprising of 10 villages while Tokaimalo Nursing Station caters for 1195 people comprising of 8 villages and 4 settlements.