13 Aug 2019

WHO head visits Tonga for first time

6:34 am on 13 August 2019

The head of the World Health Organisation has told Tongans the major threats of NCDs and climate change, demand the same response.

The Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, visited Tonga last week - the first time the agency has sent any of its leaders to the Kingdom.

Dr Ghebreyesus planted a mangrove seedling to mark his visit to the 'Ahau coastal barrier, where he learnt how houses along the coast are flooded at high tide, causing concern about sewage contamination of fisheries.

He said climate change was a worldwide challenge that must be tackled by all nations, and every day hospital staff are confronting non-communicable diseases which cause 70 percent of all deaths globally.

Matangi Tonga reported Dr Ghebreyesus was so impressed by the Vaiola Hospital nurses' choir singing for him that he invited them to be part of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife event being held in Switzerland next year.