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CDC Celebrating 10 years of Climate and Health Program

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#UnitedStates, October 30, 2019 – CDC’s Climate and Health Program is celebrating 10 years of supporting state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies as they prepare for the continuing health impacts of a changing climate.

In 2019 the program provided communities with new resources, tools, and peer-reviewed publications addressing the impacts of climate hazards. This work increased the nation’s preparedness to respond to the health effects of extreme temperatures, wildfires, drought, and flooding.

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“Climate change is the biggest environmental health challenge of our time,” said Patrick Breysse, director of CDC’s National Center of Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “CDC is proud of the collaborative work states, cities, counties, territories, and tribes are doing to develop and implement adaptation plans to protect at-risk populations and communities.”

The Climate and Health Program was established in 2009; in 2010, CDC awarded funding to 10 grantees through CDC’s Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative. The program is now helping 18 grantees around the nation use the five-step Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to identify climate impacts in their communities, potential health effects associated with these impacts, and at-risk populations and locations.

“While coastal states might be worried about flooding associated with sea-level rise or a hurricane, a health department in the Southwest might be planning for heatwaves and drought. We provide them with information and data so they can develop and implement solutions that best fit their local needs,” Breysse said.

Expanded funding to address environmental health challenges

In early 2019, the Climate and Health Program extended its reach through partnerships with non-profit health organizations. These organizations provided funding for 12 new climate and health mini-grants, as well as implemented climate-adaptation strategies to reach vulnerable populations. The program now provides funding to health departments in 29 jurisdictions. Partnerships with the American Public Health Association and American Lung Association, along with those detailed below, are critical to the success of the climate and health program. These new awards range from $5,000 to $50,000 and support a variety of climate and health adaptation activities ranging from preparing for extreme heat to developing a state-wide data tool to support local adaptation planning.

In partnership with the National Indian Health Board, CDC selected four new awardees for the Climate Ready Tribes initiative. Three Tribes will be re-funded for a second year to continue their work into 2020:

  • The Lummi Nation (Washington State) is developing plans to protect their community from harmful algal blooms and toxins in shellfish that are influenced by warming waters.
  • The Pala Band of Mission Indians (California) is working on adaptation planning and outreach.
  • The Sitka Tribe of Alaska is coordinating a regional project to monitor shellfish contamination.
  • In addition, the Kaw Nation (Oklahoma) received a one-time mini-grant for a project focused on local community education and outreach related to climate and health.

These new awardees join the previous cohort:

  • The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (Washington State).
  • The Village of Wainwright (Alaska).
  • The Blackfeet Nation (Montana).
Photo by Olgoonik

Three additional new mini-grants to support Tribal climate and health communication needs will be awarded in December 2019.

Partnerships for environmental health

The Climate and Health Program partnered with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists to award three one-time grants in early 2019 to assess climate and respiratory health issues. The grantees are San Mateo County Health, Propeller Health, and the Washington State Department of Health.

  • San Mateo is assessing the magnitude and trends of asthma burden in San Mateo County and adapting the Community Health Vulnerability Index for their jurisdiction.
  • Propeller Health is evaluating the impact of respiratory health communication tools on patient health, specifically mobile applications, and developing health outreach guidance to lessen impacts of asthma.
  • Washington state is developing best practice guidance on wildfire communications outreach and testing the utility of low-cost air quality sensors during wildfires.

Washington state also received an additional grant from CDC in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to aid development of regional climate and health profiles and climate-related risk communication efforts.

CDC’s Climate and Health Program also worked with the National Association of County and City Health Officials to award two mini-grants to support local adaptation efforts:

  • The Boston Public Health Commission developed heat awareness materials and translated them into 10 languages to assist a wide range of communities across the city.
  • The Marquette County Health Department (Michigan) developed a “Public Health Response to Flooding Disasters” plan to protect their population from increasing extreme rain events.
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In partnership with the National Environmental Health Association, CDC awarded two additional climate and health mini-grants with a focus on data accessibility:

  • The Minnesota Department of Health developed an online climate and health vulnerability assessment tool to allow communities across the state to visualize and analyze health, climate, and environmental data to aid planning and adaptation.
  • Clackamas County Public Health (Oregon) partnered with neighboring counties (Multnomah County Health Department and Washington County Public Health) to develop a comprehensive climate change and health impact assessment report and develop an accompanying data visualization tool for the Portland metropolitan region.
From CDC

The Climate and Health Program’s work extends far beyond grants to health departments. In March 2020, the program will host a science symposium featuring presentations from researchers conducting cutting-edge climate and health work. The symposium will highlight CDC’s internal science activities and new resources and tools for communities. We will also reflect on the Climate and Health Program’s past accomplishments and discuss our vision for the program’s future.

For additional information about the 10th anniversary or  the Climate and Health Program, please visit  https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/default.htm.

SOURCE:  CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

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Bahamas News

DO NOT USE, CONTAMINATED  says FDA about artnaturals hand sanitizers

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October 8, 2021 – FDA has tested certain artnaturals scent free hand sanitizer labeled with “DIST. by artnaturals Gardena, CA 90248” and found unacceptable levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants. The agency urges consumers not to use this contaminated product and has added artnaturals hand sanitizer products to the list of hand sanitizers consumers should not use.

To date, artnaturals has not responded to multiple FDA attempts to discuss the contaminated hand sanitizers, including identification of the manufacturer, possible recalls, and the scope of the contamination. Therefore, as of October 4, FDA is urging consumers not to use any artnaturals hand sanitizers.

Benzene may cause certain types of cancer in humans. Animal studies show acetaldehyde may cause cancer in humans and may cause serious illness or death. Acetal can irritate the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin. While the exact risk from using hand sanitizer containing benzene, acetaldehyde, or acetal is unknown, FDA recommends consumers do not use products contaminated with unacceptable levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, or acetal.

Consumers who have products on this list of hand sanitizers should immediately stop using the product and dispose of it, ideally in a hazardous waste container. Do not pour these products down the drain or flush them. Contact your local waste management and recycling center for more information on hazardous waste disposal.

FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol).

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Prime Minister Speaks at 76th Session of UN General Assembly

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SATURDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2021

“Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to

the needs of the planet, respect the rights of

people and revitalize the United Nations” Introduction

 

 

#TheBahamas, September 26, 2021 – Esteemed Colleague Heads of State and Heads of Government, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres;

President of the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives:

On September 16th, Bahamian citizens took to the polls to make their voices heard.   It is an honour to meet with you fewer than ten days after this peaceful exercise of the democratic process.

I wish to extend congratulations to the

Maldives, a sister Small Island Developing State, on their election to the helm of this General Assembly. Know that you will find The Bahamas to be a strong, engaged and thoughtful partner for the road ahead.

We also congratulate Secretary-General Gutteres on his re-election to a second term, and wish him every success.

Colleagues, we are meeting at a most extraordinary time. We come here from different corners of the earth, with our theme — “building resilience through hope” – reflecting our shared determination to pivot from crisis to opportunity.

These crises are inter-connected and multifaceted, and need a global response.    We must collaborate to end the Covid-19 pandemic and address public health issues.

We must co-operate to mitigate the effects of climate change.

And access to development financing must be equitable and fair.

An inadequate response to these issues will have dire consequences for the global economy.

 

Collaborating to End the Pandemic

The world has changed enormously since we first learned about the COVID-19 virus.

This crisis made abundantly clear what has always been true: we’re all in this together.

In every country, we have lost loved ones. We have seen our healthcare workers battle bravely. We have contended with disruption, uncertainty, and grief.

We have benefited from extraordinary cooperation and achievements in science, but we also had to contend with misinformation and disinformation,  and insufficient attempts to curb bad actors propagating the same. Bad information has flowed across borders, undermining public health and public trust.

The pandemic has been very difficult for countries like mine. We face an extraordinary need for new resources in health and education and housing just as our economy is contracting dramatically.

Our inter-connected world means that we will only be safe when all countries, including mine, have the tools needed to fight this virus.

This requires the equitable distribution of vaccines. That includes distribution to Small Island Developing States, who are not manufacturers. Stockpiling for self-preservation is a fallacy.

You will only be safe when we are all safe!

I wish to thank the Government and People of the United States for their donations of vaccines to The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region.

This gift, alongside donations received previously from India, China, Antigua & Barbuda, and Dominica, will save many Bahamian lives. This is in addition to the ongoing support of PAHO, CARPHA and the COVAX facility and the regional collaboration among CARICOM countries.

But this is still not enough. We need more. Our demand for vaccines has significantly outstripped supply.

Along with vaccines, it is important that safe treatments and therapeutics, are made accessible and designated as public goods. We need to fortify critical global supply chains, and distribution mechanisms, so that we can win this battle, and be better prepared for the next one.      You will only be safe, when we are all safe!    The Bahamas joins those reiterating the need to fully fund the ‘Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’ and its COVAX facility. And we reiterate our alignment with CARICOM’s call for continued high-level engagement to urgently address access to vaccines.

When vaccines are deployed to reduce transmission, everyone is made safer –  not just the direct recipient.  We can, by doing so, reduce the opportunities for new and more dangerous variants to emerge. This virus is  global and requires a global response. COP26 Matters/ Disasters Response

Colleagues, even before COVID-19 shut down my country’s borders, we were dealing with a catastrophic shock to our economy and our country.

Two years ago this month, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic caused catastrophic damage to our islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Hurricane Dorian was strengthened by waters that were well above average temperatures; the earth’s changing climate means that hurricanes like Dorian linger longer and cause more damage.

The devastation caused by this storm is part of our country’s landscape; the physical and emotional wreckage are still with us.

Recently I spoke with a woman who lost her husband and her three children in the storm. Every rainfall is a reminder of the horror. How can we continue to do nothing in the face of such tragedy?

The very worst thing about Dorian is our sense of foreboding – our sense that this hurricane, which took so much from so many – is only the beginning.

None of us believe this is a once-in-a-generation storm. Instead, we know it is a nightmare that could easily recur – tomorrow, next week, next month.

To any leader who believes we still have plenty of time to address climate change, I invite you to visit Abaco and Grand Bahama.

For island nations such as ours, climate change is here. And is a real and present danger.

Before Hurricane Dorian in 2019, we faced hurricanes: in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017.  We cannot survive this “new normal”.

Thus, we are not here to call for measured steps. We are here to say that big and radical change is the only response that can save our country. We are out of time.

We stand with CARICOM countries and Small Island Developing States to remind the world that those who are hit hardest by the impact of climate change, are the least responsible.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report warned that avoiding the worst outcomes requires immediate action; this is, as the Secretary-General noted, a ‘Code Red’ moment.

Our countries disproportionately bear the burden of the “Recovery Trap”, in which we attempt to rebuild to the tune of billions – billions we never had, even before COVID.

 

Colleagues, in a few short weeks, we will meet in Glasgow, Scotland.

The 26th Climate Change Conference cannot be like the twenty-five that preceded it – we cannot pretend that incremental change is sufficient. We cannot set goals we have no intention of meeting. We cannot keep postponing the change we need for countries like mine to survive.

If we are the serious leaders these times require, we must raise our ambitions, and make real commitments to cut emissions.

We must make real progress on bridging the divides in investment, and access-to-technology and skills, especially in areas relevant to climate mitigation and adaptation.

We must strengthen technical assistance for creating, nationally-determined contribution (NDC) commitments, along with commensurate ‘implementation financing’.

We must give teeth and substance to the mechanism for loss and damage if it is to be a meaningful tool for supporting fair recovery, and not simply an exercise in defining and highlighting disaster risk.

Along with our sister nations in CARICOM,

The Bahamas calls for greater climate financing and the need for more engagement and progress on a Climate Investment Platform.

And, as a matter of priority, more innovative financing and debt solutions are needed, including debt for climate adaptation swaps. We also look forward to the capitalization of a Caribbean Resilience Fund. We also need adequate resourcing and timely access to the ‘Green Climate Fund’ and the ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’.

In our just-concluded campaign, we called for new renewable energy initiatives in our own country. We are going to build structural and economic resilience, in a green recovery, with plans to invest in climate-smart infrastructure and environmental protection.

The Bahamas will lead on wetland and ocean preservation, and we will seek re-election to the International Maritime Organization. We look forward to the Biodiversity Conference

next month; we are committed to the successful conclusion of negotiations towards an international treaty to conserve marine bio-diversity.  Advancing an MVI/ Affordable, Accessible Development Financing

Colleagues, the compounding impact of economic, environmental, and now public health shocks, means that access to affordable finance will be the real driver of progress in the near and long term.

The global development financing gap for meeting Sustainable Development Goals by

2030, estimated in 2019 to be $2.5 trillion, is only increasing.

Today we reiterate our country’s support for the inclusion of a Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index in the decision-making of international financial institutions, and the international donor community.

On a related front, we believe that access to the global financial system and tax cooperation should not be undermined: by ad hoc and consistently shifting and arbitrary goal posts, and threats of exclusion from the global economy.

Financial Services is a crucial component of the Bahamian economy. We see an indispensable role for the UN in leveraging its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global antimoney laundering, de-risking and tax cooperation matters.

Cuba

On a separate note, I wish to convey The Bahamas’ rejection of the ongoing economic blockade of our sister Caribbean nation of Cuba.

Conclusion

As I conclude, I recall the words of our nation’s first Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, as he stood here 48 years ago this month, on the occasion of our nation’s accession to the United Nations.

He spoke about the journey of our people, from slavery to colonialism to sovereign independence.

He spoke of our country’s wish to be neither dominated nor coerced, and our wish to build friendships with nations who respected our freedom.

He could not have foreseen at that time the challenges we face today, with intensifying hurricanes and a deadly virus that has left no nation untouched. But he saw already that “no nation is an island unto itself” and spoke of the interdependence of all countries.    That interdependence has never been clearer.

Rest assured, colleagues, that in The Bahamas you will find a trusted partner, committed to moving forward on our collective goals for sustainable development, security, and peace.

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Health

US Changes its mind, now all FOREIGNERS must be Vaxxed

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#USA, September 21, 2021 – The US Embassy yesterday confirmed in a press release that foreign travellers to the US will be required to be fully vaccinated for Covid 19 and the new rule will come to force in early November.

Specifically the update informed:  “As announced by the White House on September 20, beginning in early November, all adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States by air must demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.”

The Monday announcement is touted as an equalizer, but could also be the reason the vaccine-hesitant finally give in to the jabs.

“This requirement will end the need, as of early November, for travelers from certain geographic regions to obtain national interest exceptions under the current presidential proclamations in order to travel to the United States.”

It is reported that already, in places like The Bahamas lines were longer with news that the requirement for vaccination is mandatory in order to travel to the United States by flight.

“Adult foreign nationals will be required to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound international flight.”

Already enforced for cruise lines, which resumed in June, is the requirement for all passengers to be fully vaccinated and pre-tested before boarding.

Increasingly, vaccine mandates are becoming the norm for travellers, club-goers, for dine in at restaurants and on the job.

Turks and Caicos on September 1 activated its vaccinated tourists only policy, which requires travellers over 16 to be fully inoculated with one of four of the top-rated vaccines.

The CDC has not yet advised with vaccines will be on the accepted list; the US Embassy office in Nassau said:  “We will look to CDC to guide which vaccines will be accepted, as part of their standard role in determining who is considered fully vaccinated for the purposes of recommended or required international travel protocols.”

We will provide further information for visa applicants and U.S. citizen travelers as it becomes available on our website: travel.state.gov.

In the meantime, Americans who are not fully vaccinated, are cautioned to stay put.  In fact the notice advised: “With the new order, unvaccinated U.S. citizens and LPRs or legal permanent residents who return to the United States will be required to do the following prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight: one, Provide proof of a negative test result taken within one day prior to their departure and Provide proof that they have purchased a viral test to be taken after arrival.”

 

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