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Natural and health disasters are not only common but similar in the sense that to a certain extent they can be prevented. The Pacific region is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, and vulnerable to disasters caused by natural hazards such as cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, volcanoes and drought. Health facilities are essential to the response efforts and if they suffer structural-damage, loss of personnel, or are over-whelmed with cases, then they are often unable to respond to the needs of the community, which could cause further deaths.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have been declared a health and economic crisis in the pacific by leaders due to its high burden and big impact on human health as well as health systems. NCDs consist of heart diseases (including high blood pressure and stroke), Diabetes, Cancer and Chronic Respiratory diseases and they are largely preventable through healthy lifestyle (healthy diet, physical activity, responsible use of alcohol and no smoking) involving multiple sectors and secondary prevention of early diagnosis and treatment mainly by the health system. Health system in the pacific was not well positioned or prepared nor has it responded well to the NCD crisis which is crippling it at the moment and strengthening the health system would potentially be a win-win situation coupled with the multisectoral response.

This session will explore both the impact disasters (natural and diseases) have on health systems in the Pacific as well as how poor health can cause disasters and what preventive measures can be put in place by governments. In particular, costs to the health system both natural disasters and disease have caused, and the current disastrous impact Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are having on the health of Pacific communities. Increasing health system preparedness and resiliency to disasters (both natural and diseases) is not only cost-effective but saves lives

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WHO Representative/South Pacific Level 4, Provident Plaza One Downtown Boulevard, 33 Ellery Street, Suva
-18.139514, 178.42594299999996
(679) 323 4100

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