European Commissioner for Development, Mr Andris Piebalgs and the Kiribati Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Kautu Tenaua, along with Mr Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, inaugurated the European Union (EU)funded Kiribati Public Health Laboratory in Tarawa today.
“The EU is committed to support Kiribati in its fight against climate change adverse impacts. This laboratory will allow the government to better respond to climate-sensitive vector-borne diseases such as dengue”, Mr Piebalgs said.
“The Public Health laboratory refurbishment and related capacity building activities are essential to safeguard the health of the I-Kiribati people, acknowledging that outbreaks of climate sensitive related diseases such as dengue fever, diarrhoea, and giardiasis are more frequent,” Dr Tenaua said.
Mr Petterson added: “This environmental health project has critical impacts for Kiribati, as it is increasing the resilience of the I-Kiribati people to climate sensitive diseases. Changes in these diseases are being better understood through improved surveillance and analysis by Public Health.”
The EUR 11.4 million (AUD 16.9m) Global Climate Change Alliance Pacific Small Islands States project assists the Cook Island, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu in making infrastructure, policies and national budgets inclusive of climate change impacts.
The project, implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, includes the implementation of pilot projects for national adaptation actions, through improved cooperation with regional organisations.
In Kiribati, the EUR 0.5 million (AUD 0.7 million) component provides the Public Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services with the necessary equipment and training to monitor and respond to the changing incidence of food, water, and vector-borne diseases.
For further information, contact:
Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific