Philippines holds confab on health, climate resilience
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and other countries in the Pacific region are looking for solutions to various health problems brought about by climate change.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the Philippines is hosting an international conference to strengthen networks and find ways to address the climate vulnerability of Pacific countries.

“Faced with many of the same challenges, the Philippines and Pacific island countries can potentially learn a lot from each other’s experiences,” Duque noted.  

According to Duque, the Philippines and other Pacific island countries are among the most climate vulnerable in the world.

He said millions of people residing in small island and coastal communities are under threat from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and unprecedented risks to public health and safety due to climate change.

Public health consequences of climate change, he said, include injuries and a rise in both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

“Without proper planning and adaptation, health systems will be overwhelmed leading to more deaths and disability from climate change,” he pointed out.

Due to extreme weather, Duque said, thousands of Filipino lives and billions worth of property and economic activity have been lost.

“In 2013, the public health crisis in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, from lives lost, damaged infrastructure, and the devastating psychosocial consequences to affected communities, was tremendous. Mitigating the adverse effects fueled by climate change is of utmost importance to promoting and protecting public health,” he said.

He said climate change affects everyone and the challenge must be faced by one global community.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated there will be 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change.

Duque said climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health, including clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Poor communities, children, the elderly, and people with chronic disease and disability are most at risk.

He said policy change, systems strengthening, sustainable design and strategic partnerships can produce significant health and environment benefits.

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