7 June 2020
Environmental protection and green tourism
Miss Solomon Islands, Gladys Habu, said during the World Environment Day, “Protecting our environment is important and as Islanders, we know very well why.”
“As a nation, our environment plays a significant role development.
“It is the source of good health, as well as wealth.”
Ms Habu’s words were appropriate as World Environment Day is recognised as possibly the biggest day for encouraging people worldwide to help save and protect the environment from the many environmental challenges the world is facing today.
To put it simply, the world Environment Day is also a “People’s Day” which is a day to do something to take care of one’s environment. It is an important occasion for promoting the dimensions of environmental Sustainable Development Goals.
COVID-19 has highlighted some of the problems of mass tourism and especially stories of large numbers of coronavirus cases involving passengers having taken cruise liner trips and the vessels blocked at certain ports with sick passengers on board.
The trend to green tourism post Covid-19 will see tourists wanting to visit places where there is evidence of environmental protection and where tourism takes into account the needs of the environment by enhancing the natural environment.
A couple of years ago, to celebrate World Environment Day, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) launched a biodiversity project in Georgia, aimed at protecting mountain and freshwater ecosystems through tourism. The project involved the development of tourism products in mountain and freshwater ecosystems in four protected areas in Georgia, to raise awareness of these areas, as well as generate income for their conservation.
Some similar biodiversity projects would be beneficial for the Solomon Islands in the longer term.
Post Covid-19, I see the importance of the Solomon Islands advancing sustainable tourism. What do I mean by that?
Put it this way - tourism which takes into account the needs of the environment, local residents, businesses, and visitors; now and in the future. It is relevant to any tourism business, large or small, rural or urban, whether focused on ecotourism, business tourism or any other tourism niche market. Green tourism businesses are those actively engaged in reducing the negative environmental and social impacts of their tourism operations.
How would sustainable tourism be beneficial? Here are some possible answers.
•Beneficial the environment by conserving resources
•Reducing costs through efficiencies and staff awareness
•Fulfilling customers expectations of businesses to look after their environment
•Attracting new customers
•Improving the country’s public image
•Improving customer experience
•Improving the quality of the service provided
•Beneficial to the local community
•Supporting the local economy
•Reducing pollution, and
•Enhancing the natural environment.
5 June 2020
Climate change remains the biggest crisis facing humanity in the long-term, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today is celebrated as World Environment Day and what could be a better time than be reminded of the threat the world faces from climate change, despite our worries over Covid-19.
Speaking at the first extraordinary inter-sessional summit of heads of State and government of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States this week, Kausea Natano urged fellow delegates not to lose sight of reality.
"The Covid-19 public health emergency and its ensuing humanitarian and economic fallout offers the world a glimpse of what the global climate change emergency can become - if it is left unchecked and if ambitious action is not taken now," Kausea Natano said.
“On the coronavirus pandemic Kausea Natano said the Pacific was deeply saddened by the global loss of life and conveyed their condolences and prayers to all who have been affected.
"We are living in unprecedented times where we must stand together in solidarity and face the challenges presented to us," Kausea Natano said.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us all."
“According to the World Health Organisation, as of Wednesday (3 June) more than 379,000 people around the world have died from Covid-19 with over 3,600 deaths in the last 24 hours.
“Out of this just over 7,050 deaths occurred in the Western Pacific with 13 reported in the past day.
“Mr Natano also added the Pacific's voice to the international call for innovative solutions to address debt relief and debt sustainability.
"Closing our borders allowed the Pacific region to contain the spread of Covid-19, but this has come at great cost to our economies," Mr Natano said.
"Many businesses have closed, and our Pacific islands that rely so heavily on tourism are suffering."
"Recession is anticipated region-wide."
“Kausea Natano called for multi-lateral support saying stimulating development in the Pacific will require a co-ordinated response with cross-border solutions.
"We have supported each other in times of need over the past decades, and our development partners have also stepped up to assist us when we needed them," Mr Natano said.
"We need that solidarity to continue, now more than ever."
Source Radio New Zealand.
4 June 2020
Immunization and high blood pressure influencing hypertension are important health markers to watch in avoiding catching COVID-19
I visited the local hospital today to get my annual flu vaccination and another couple of tests which I have each year about this time in June.
The flu jab was soon over but I needed to wait another hour before I got the results of the other tests.
The hospital waiting room was air conditioned and there was reading material available and plenty of advisory notices relating to COVID-19 precautions.
I happened to see and read some health notices which I thought could be of interest to your readers in the Solomon Islands.
The first health advisory said doctors strongly believe that one’s immunization needs to be strengthened to avoid catching coronavirus.
The advisory went on to say, and I’ll quote:
“Fatigue at all times:
If you feel tired all the time, it can be a symptom of low immunization.
“Always feel sick:
Frequent illness is a major symptom of low immunization. If you also fall ill again and again, take a healthy diet to strengthen the immunization system.
If you are repeatedly allergic to some kind of allergy, it is a symptom of low immunity.
“Taking time to heal wounds:
If you have a wound somewhere in your body and do not fill it completely, it is a sign of low immunization.
People who have low immunization may have digestive problems.
“Find out the reasons why immunity becomes low:
“People who already have a disease such as diabetes, etc., have a weak immunization system.
“More cigarettes, alcohol, and bad food:
“The use of more cigarettes and alcohol leads to immunization. The immune system does not work properly due to poor eating habits.
“Know how to increase immunization:
“Vitamin C helps in increasing one’s immunization.
The second health advisory related to high blood pressure, and again I quote the piece.
“With COVID-19 mortality rates increasing for those with hypertension – usually defined as blood pressure above 140/90, considered severe if above 180/120 – the heart health organisation says it’s never been more important for people to keep it in check.
“Evidence suggests that those with high blood pressure may be at risk if infected with the COVID-19 virus compared to the general population.
“High blood pressure often has no symptoms, but, if untreated, can also cause health conditions, such as irreversible blood vessel damage or increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
“The Heart Foundation says too many are putting their health at risk by not being aware of how much harm high blood pressure can do to their hearts.
“High blood pressure is known as a silent killer because there are often no obvious signs or symptoms, yet it puts you at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke,” said Heart Foundation risk reduction manager, Natalie Raffoul. “The only way to find out if you need to do something about your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly.
“The good news is high blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active, limiting alcohol, eating a healthy diet and being smoke-free. In more serious cases, it can be managed with medications.
“If you have high blood pressure, now is an important time to look after it. This includes continuing to take your medications as prescribed, following a heart-healthy lifestyle, and staying in touch with a doctor.
“A healthy lifestyle is important, but it’s also important to keep an eye on clinical risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Close to one in two heart disease deaths are attributable to high blood pressure, so knowing your risks and keeping your blood pressure within a normal range is a key part of protecting your heart,” said Ms Raffoul.
“If you’re 18 or over, the Heart Foundation recommends that you get your blood pressure checked at least every two years. If you are 45 and over, you should get your blood pressure checked as part of a regular, comprehensive Heart Health Check.”
Do keep safe and well.
5 June 2020
Solomon Islands: A call to redefine accountability for public health.
In Honiara, theMinistry of Health and Medical Service’s (MHMS) is currently holding its five days’ COVID-19 emergency response training workshop.
It has been said the workshop aims to critically review, update and harmonize the MHMS’s emergency Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and strengthen all other aspects of its COVID-19 preparedness and response.
The MHMS Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil, reportedly said during the workshop, “The COVID-19 36 hours’ lockdown exercise had exposed some of our inadequacies and unraveled some of our weaknesses of our preparedness and response. However, this training provides us with an opportunity to improve on aspects of our efforts that were inadequate during the lockdown particularly in revisiting our SOPs and to ensure that these SOPs are practical and workable during real time scenario”.
As reported earlier by a police officer on duty during the lockdown, there were some people reportedly suffering from mental illness roaming the streets during the hours of lockdown and I hope the workshop will focus some attention on the plight of those suffering disability in the community and see help is provided.
Dr. Sevil Huseynova , the WHO Country Representative in the Solomon Islands, highlighted during the workshop that Solomon Islands is among the only 12 countries in the world that still maintains a COVID-19 free status and it is important to grasp the opportunity to build capacities of respondents to effectively and efficiently tackle any entry and outbreak of COVID-19.
Dr. Huseynova went on to talk about the need to redefine accountability for health, where individual health should be considered as a public good – very much as I have tried to highlight in several letters to the local media.
Quoting Dr. Huseynova, the participants at the workshop were told.
“Greater attention is required for community engagement, health promotion and public health prevention to focus at each individual in our communities to keep them healthier for a greater good, including the continuity of gains made in immunization, maternal and child care, malaria & tuberculosis elimination efforts, and non-communicable diseases.”
“We must also consider this “new normal” in public health planning which may involve how we can efficiently use our very limited resources to maximize gains as COVID-19 may present a situation of lower economic income for both the state and households leading to less monetary contributions to the health sector which in turn can lead to a deteriorating state of public health, with more out-of-pocket spending by households.”
Sources: MHMS and Solomon Times.
Australia Supports WFP’s Humanitarian Air Services Across the Pacific to Aid Covid-19 Response
Quoting the Solomon Times – 4 June 2020
“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of AUD$3 million (US$1.96 million) from the Government of Australia to kickstart humanitarian air operations in the Pacific.
“With Australia’s generous contribution, WFP’s humanitarian air service in the Pacific will enable humanitarian organisations, national governments and health responders to deliver health and humanitarian cargo, despite the unprecedented border closures between Pacific neighbours and the severe disruptions to commercial aviation services.
“WFP stands ready to provide aviation services in support of our Pacific partners as they face major disruptions in regional supply chains due to COVID-19,” said Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country office. “Our ability to provide this crucial service is made possible thanks to the support of the Australian Government.”
Copyright @ 2020, Solomon Times.