Kiribati: The remote island nation facing a triple threat to health

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Kiribati is one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of the climate crisis.

The country faces has described as a triple threat to health: communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and the health impacts of climate change.

Climate and environmental changes are exacerbating Kiribati’s high burden of disease.

Kiribati faces air and sea temperature rises, storm surges and high winds, erosion, drought and flooding. This poses direct and indirect threats to human health, including injury, disease outbreaks and malnutrition.

MSF has been working in Kiribati since October 2022, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, to improve maternal and paediatric care.

An MSF paediatrician, obstetrician, midwife and paediatric nurse are working alongside i-Kiribati ministry of health staff to provide health care in the country’s main hospital and to help build capacity among local health staff. An MSF team has also worked on the outer islands, training nurses on neonatal care and screening for women who have high-risk pregnancies due to the very high rates of gestational diabetes.

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