Search By Topic


Spotlight on LMICs – Getting Up To Speed on the Pacific Islands: A Plan for Resilience

Pacific island countries and areas are among the most vulnerable in the world to the impacts of climate change. They face a triple burden of disease; communicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases, and the health impact of climate change which causes high morbidity and mortality. Extreme weather events, especially cyclones, floods and droughts, are displacing populations, causing injuries and psychological trauma, and are increasing the risks of infection and malnutrition. These impacts are projected to worsen with additional climate change in the absence of strong and effective mitigation and adaptation measures.

Previous studies have highlighted significant knowledge gaps on the national health risks of climate change and on adaptation implementation and policy translation. Dr. Kathryn Bowen et al. set out to synthesize recent research to identify approaches to support evidence-based policymaking to increase resilience of health systems in the Pacific. Their analyses have suggested specific areas where substantial investment and support can go a long way to mitigate future climate change impacts:

  • Health workforce capacity development,
  • Enhanced surveillance and monitoring systems,
  • Research to enhance understanding of risks and effective interventions and their subsequent translation into practice and policy,
  • Health system infrastructure strengthening to update and reconfigure energy system reliance.

This review suggests that Pacific island countries still have a notable way to go to surpass the challenges associated with the real and potential impacts of climate variability on health and health systems. This publication provides actionable tools towards building the resilience of the health sector and ensuring that their capacities are well equipped to adequately mitigate and respond to adverse impacts.

Dr. Kathryn Bowen is a part of the Health Knowledge Action Network of Future Earth. She has done research on the science and policy of sustainability and global health issues, with substantial experience in public health research, science assessment, capacity development and policy advice. Dr. Bowen is a Professor of Climate, Environment and Global Health in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Deputy Director of Melbourne Climate Futures, University of Melbourne, and Director of the University of Melbourne’s Climate Collaborative Action for Transformative Change in Health and Healthcare Lab.

Bowen, K., Ebi, K. L., Woodward, A., McIver, L., Tukuitonga, C., & Nayna Schwerdtle, P. (2023). Human health and climate change in the Pacific: a review of current knowledge. Climate & development. doi:10.1080/17565529.2023.2185479.

Spotlight on the LMICs (low- and middle- income countries) is a Future Earth series that shines a light on the wide range of research currently being conducted in LMICs or by scientists from LMIC regions who are a part of the FE Network. It provides a bridge for collaboration and is designed to promote meaningful discussion with those working within or across those regions and spaces. Do you have a recent publication within the Global South that you would like spotlighted? Share your publication with Makyba Charles-Ayinde at for a possible feature!