There is a proven link between climate and health. At the nation's only hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, a specialist department has been installed to study, monitor and manage climate change-related illnesses. Climate-related illnesses that have evidently increased in conjunction with the changing weather include influenza, conjunctivitis, fungal diseases, and dengue fever, according to the nation's hospital’s research.

Ten Tuvaluans are diagnosed with ciguatera poisoning every week, ciguatera poisoning affects reef fish who have ingested micro-algaes expelled by bleached coral - when fish become infected with these ciguatera toxins and are consumed by humans, it causes an immediate and sometimes severe illness: vomiting, fevers and diarrhoea. Ciguatera accounts for roughly 10% of the weekly case-load of climate-related illnesses.

Suria Eusala Paufolau

Suria Eusala Paufolau, acting chief of public health, states cases of fish poisoning began to climb a decade ago; coincidentally same time the nation really felt the repercussions of climate change.

The increase of daily temperatures is also putting people at daily risk of dehydration, heat stroke and heat rashes, Paufolau says.

“Generally the local population does not see the link between climate change and health. But there is always a sense of fear about what is happening to our home.”

Changing climate influences the environmental and social determinants of health – clean/safe air, safe/accessible drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.The World Health Organisation produced a report that foresees between 2030 and 2050, we will see 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress, prompted by climate ramifications.

Areas with weak health infrastructure, frequent in developing countries, will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond, the Tuvaluan nation is subject to this.

Children in residing in poor nations are among the most vulnerable to rapidly changing health risks and will be exposed longer to the health consequences.

Climate-related health effects are also expected to be more severe for elderly people and people with infirmities or pre-existing medical conditions.

Living greener, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food, energy-use and consumer choices can result in improved health.


Fighting for Tuvalu includes fighting for the health and wellbeing of the Tuvaluan people.