By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE impact of climate on health-related issues is highlighted in the National Health Strategic Plan 2022-2031, launched at FFA Headquarters on Monday 7th November 2022.
The country is vulnerable to rising sea levels and natural disasters such as tsunamis and sea surges associated with cyclones; and around 35 percent of the country population live in low elevation coastal zones (0-10 metres above sea level).
The National Statistics Office estimates that Solomon Islands has a population of 721,455 at the time of the 2019 census.
The population is relatively young, with around 41 percent aged less than 15 years.
The population is forecast to increase to 912,567 by mid year 2031, an increase of around 191,000 from the 2019 provisional population count.
According to the report, warm temperatures increase the risks of water and vector borne diseases, such as diarrhoea and malaria, injuries and illnesses, and heat stress.
Further to that, the report states the country faces hazards that intersect with climate change, including poverty, inequality and poorly planned development.
It says climate change may increase the number of people at risk of heat related medical conditions, particularly the elderly, children, those who are chronically ill, and at-risk occupational groups.
The report also states climate change increases risks to food security through land degradation associated with salination of the soil in coastal areas, impacting nutrition and health.
Apart of that, Solomon Islands consists of six major islands – Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Makira, New Georgia and Santa Isabel – and 992 smaller islands, atolls and reefs covering 28,466 square kilometres.
The topography ranges from thickly forested volcanic uplifts with deep ravines to low lying coral atolls.