Inform’ACTION Special Issue Climate Change and Health

July 2013

Printed version


Climate Change & Health

The First Pacific Regional Climate Change and Health Symposium
Lachlan McIver, Damian Hoy, Christelle Lepers, Jyotishma Naicker, Yvan Souarès [PDF 1.7 MB]

Abstracts from keynote addresses

  • An introduction to climate change and human health
    Alistair Woodward
  • Climate change science, products and services in the Pacific
    Scott Power
  • Piloting climate change adaptation to protect human health (PCCAPHH) in Fiji – A Progress Report
    Jyotishma Naicker
  • The role of governments and the IPCC in managing climate change and health issues
    Yasushi Honda

Abstracts from country presentations
Climate change and health vulnerabilities and adaptation in

  • Cook Islands
    William Taripo
  • Marshall Islands
    Nabin Oli
  • Nauru
    Godfrey Waidubu
  • Papua New Guinea
    Teresa Zurenuoc
  • Samoa
    Victoria Ieremia Faasili
  • Solomon Islands
    Andrew Waleluma Darcy
  • Tokelau – Heavenly and earthly, survival or extinction
    Lee Pearce
  • Tonga
    Malakai Ake
  • Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau and Tuvalu
    Lachlan McIver
  • French Polynesia is vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change
    Edouard Suhas

Abstracts from activities, projects and research findings conducted in the Pacific and Asia

  • Track – Curriculum development: building knowledge for the future
    Theme: ‘Learning by doing’: it’s now or never, be clever
    Litiana N.T. Kuridrani and Altaisaikhan Khasag
  • Climate change and health curriculum at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Fiji National University
    Railala Nakabea
  • ‘Adapting to climate change in Kiribati -The social dimension’ – documentary and presentation
    Emily Moli
  • The role of public awareness in health-protective behaviours to reduce heat waves risk
    Myounghee Kim, Ho Kim, Myoungsoon You
  • A new paradigm of climate awareness and response: Assessing the capacity to adapt in the health and water sectors in Fiji
    Elenoa Seru-Puamau

Addressing food and water safety and security

  • Shifting away from traditional cultivation practices pose risks to food security
    Jeremy Dorovolomo
  • Emerging issues on climate change, its impacts, adaptation and island development on Rotuma
    Monifa Fiu
  • Impact of community-based fisheries management on child health in the Pacific: Evaluation of a climate adaptation programme
    Hilary Bambrick and Quentin Hanich

Finding alternative sources of energy that reduce deforestation and protect human health

  • Prospects of solar cooker and indoor air quality (IAQ)
    Mukesh Verma

Investigating new therapeutic agents

  • Human health security and climate change: Investigation of therapeutic compounds from marine sponge associated fungi
    Payal Maharaj

Monitoring, understanding and strengthening the control of vector-borne diseases

  • Climate change and health adaptation: strengthening control of vector-borne diseases to lessen impacts of climate change in the western Pacific region
    Joshua Nealon, Undraa B, Makita L, Raingsey P, Abeyasinghe R, Ochirpurev A, Chan V
  • Climate-based models for understanding and forecasting dengue epidemics in New Caledonia and perspectives for the South Pacific area
    E. Descloux, M. Mangeas, C. Menkes, A. Leroy, L. Guillaumot, J.P. Grangeon, J. Benzler, M. Teurlai, V. Cavarero
  • Relationship between dengue vector density and climate parameters and their implications for dengue prevention and control in Cambodia
    Joshua Nealon, Setha T, Rekol H, Chantha N, Sorany L, Raingsey P, Chan V

Protecting biodiversity and human health

  • Challenges and opportunities for catchment management in Fiji to conserve biodiversity and improve human health
    Stacy Jupiter and Aaron Jenkins

Studying temperature effects on mortality

  • Temperature effects on mortality in Asian cities
    Youn-Hee Lim, Ho Kim, Yasushi Honda, Yue-Liang Leon Guo
  • Investigating mortality attributable to high temperature in Seoul, South Korea 1992 to 2009
    Clara T Kim, Youn-hee Lim, Ho Kim

Sharing lessons learned

  • Public health lessons from the 2012 Fiji floods: Nadi’s second flood experience and observations
    Railala Nakabea
  • Climate change and communicable disease
    Lavenia Gaunavinaka and Niko Nadolo
  • Webinar: Protecting health from climate change: Adaptation (September 13, 2012) – A summary for the Pacific Climate Change and Health Symposium
    Jyotishma Naicker

Studying the socio-economic implications of climate change

  • Socio-economic implications of climate change for the Nadi Basin catchment, Fiji
    Sofia Shah

Exploring new health informatics

  • Health informatics research in Fiji
    Rohitash Chandra and Anal Kumar

AeDenPac: The Aedes Aegypti Mosquito – A Dengue and Chikungunya Fever Vector in the Pacific
M. Dupont-Rouzeyrol, P. Laqere, V. Rama, U. Tuangalu, VM. Cao-Lormeau, F. Mathieu-Daudé, M. Mangeas, H. Bossin, C. Menkes, A.C. Gourinat, M. Teurlai, E. Descloux, A. Pfannstiel, A. Sakuntabhai, A. Roth, Y. Souares, S. Hales,L. Guillaumot [PDF 357 KB]

SPC Public Health Division supporting Pacific Island countries and territories in adapting to climate change
Damian Hoy, Brian Dawson, Adam Roth, Yvan Souarès [PDF 911 KB]


Climate change poses significant threats to the health of the people of the Pacific as highlighted in the proceedings of the first Pacific Regional Climate Change and Health (CC&H) Symposium presented in this issue.

Common climate-sensitive health risks identified across 14 Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) include: increased incidence of vector-borne diseases; threats to food and water safety and security and potential spread of food- and water-borne diseases; exacerbation of non-communicable diseases; injuries and deaths from extreme weather events; more cases of ciguatera; and increases in mental health problems.

The symposium, which took place in Fiji in September last year, attracted more than 130 health professionals and researchers from the Pacific and Asia. Participants shared findings, lessons and experiences from studies and adaptation activities for CC&H. Abstracts from all the oral presentations and posters are included in this issue of Inform’ACTION, as well as the symposium’s outcome statement. SPC and WHO convened a regional workshop on the final day of the symposium to gain a better understanding of PICT needs for capacity-building in adaptation to the health threats projected as a result of climate change. Common areas identified include strengthening health information systems, geographical information systems, disaster/emergency/outbreak preparedness and response, and the environmental health function within public health laboratories.

Existing regional mechanisms can be used to efficiently address the needs identified. There are already mechanisms in place at national and regional levels to address these needs. The Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) has played an important role in the region since 1996. This has included public health surveillance, outbreak preparedness and response, communication and alerts, and laboratory strengthening. Substantial work is currently being done to strengthen the PPHSN. Another key recommendation from the workshop highlighted the need to establish a CC&H working group attached to the PPHSN to coordinate adaptation, capacity-building and research projects throughout the region as also highlighted in the outcome statement of the symposium. The recommendation will be discussed at the next meeting of the PPHSN Coordinating Body.

A number of adaptation projects responding to the health threats posed by climate change in PICTs have already begun with the assistance of PPHSN members and other partners as shown in the article on 41. For example, the Kiribati Environmental Health Unit, with the support of SPC and other partners, recently began a project to strengthen monitoring and response to vector-borne diseases, especially dengue fever, and climate-sensitive health threats such as food poisoning, ciguatera, and contaminated water. The Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services is conducting a needs assessment for an integrated national epidemiology unit with the support of SPC and WHO. Later this year, SPC in collaboration with partners from the Public Health Laboratory Network of PPHSN (LabNet), will undertake a pilot project using a recently evaluated filter paper method that allows blood samples to be sent using regular mail services. This method will provide faster and more affordable detection and confirmation of pathogens, and will support further research on arboviral diseases in the Pacific.

The New Caledonia Pasteur Institute, French Development Research Institute, Louis Malardé Institute, Fiji and Tonga Ministries of Health, the University of Otago’s Department of Public Health in New Zealand, SPC and the New Caledonian Territorial Hospital are undertaking a programme entitled ‘AeDenPac’ to study the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main arbovirus vector in the Pacific. The programme will set up surveillance and a permanent entomological network to improve our understanding of diseases transmission and resistance mechanisms to pesticides, and to develop predictive risk indices based on climate data (see article page 37).

All these projects respond to the recommendations of the 2009 Ministers of Health meeting in Madang, where ministers emphasised the need to use and reinforce existing systems and build up national capacity to minimise climate-related health risks. This will ultimately enhance the resilience of the Pacific Community to the health threats posed by climate change.

Christelle Lepers, Damian Hoy, Yvan Souarès*
Public Health Division, SPC; *Focal point for Climate Change and Health