Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Fiji has set a priority on providing unfettered access to high-quality healthcare for all Fijians, with special efforts underway to reach our society’s most vulnerable: women, children, the elderly and the disadvantaged.
I believe this is a value we all share, and I want to thank the governments of Thailand and Georgia for ably shepherding this discussion through the United Nations as our co-facilitators.
Fiji’s citizenry is dispersed over 120 populated islands, so  achieving universal access to primary healthcare demands that we blaze an uncharted path, led by solutions tailored to our unique set of challenges. We share these challenges with other Small Island Developing States that are too small to  bring the advantages of scale to the health care system.
Nevertheless, Fiji is using strategic investment to build a healthcare system in which access to quality care is unbound by geography, background or socio-economic status. Our progress is paying dividends, both in realising the constitutional right to health for every Fijian and in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We are vastly improving the quality and accessibility in preventive, curative and specialised care. Our National Health system is free to all Fijians, and tens of thousands of disadvantaged Fijians benefit from our Free Medicine Scheme.  Our health professionals now enjoy much improved working terms and conditions and can now access an unprecedented range of post-graduate training and professional development opportunities.
Through our decentralised healthcare system, we have placed health workers and infrastructure directly in remote communities, many of which are located on distant islands. Our subsidy of overseas travel has put life-saving care within reach for low-income families. And we recently launched a public-private partnership to bring international expertise to the management of two of our hospitals. That alone is bringing a suite of new technologies, training opportunities and health services, including full tertiary care.
But these accomplishments, extraordinary as they may be, are all placed at grave risk by the wide-reaching devastation of climate change. The fact is that climate change has increased health insecurity worldwide, and we now need to climate-proof our health systems in every way possible.
The historic advancement of the Fijian health sector can only be protected and sustained through collaboration with our partners from around the world. Only together can we develop health infrastructure that is resilient to the many possible blows that a changing climate can inflict on us. Only together can we identify, educate and train the people we need to deliver this care. Only together can we attack the root cause of this crisis and adapt vulnerable communities, economies and healthcare systems to the climate realities that we all know we face.
Thank you.