12 September 2019
Waking up to the reality of non-communicable disease leading to death and disability.
According to the most recent news release from the World Health Organisation (WHO) NCDs are the leading causes of death and disability in the Region, responsible for 80% of all deaths.
“Globally, NCD deaths are projected to increase by 2020 to 44 million deaths, with the highest numbers predicted in the Western Pacific.
“Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The four main types – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases – impose a major and growing burden on health and development.”
Non-communicable disease is the most urgent development challenge facing Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said recently when he told a roundtable meeting on NCDs in Honiara.
By 2050 Solomon Islands could have 216,000 people with diabetes, costing the country $US60 million dollars annually, the PM said.
Mr. Sogavare called for a "roadmap" to be devised to halt and reverse the NCD crises.
In the Cook Islands 80 percent of the health budget is going towards fighting non-communicable diseases, it has been said.
Today, Thursday, a resort operator in the Cook Islands called for a "junk food tax" to overcome the country's obesity problem.
Tata Crocombe, of the Rarotonga resort, said hikes on the prices of foods with high sugar, salt or saturated fat content, would force people to buy healthy food instead.
The Cook Islands News reported him saying there had been a stark change in the Cooks in the past 40 years, moving from an agrarian economy to eating "highly processed, highly toxic foods" and doing little exercise.
In another perspective on the NCD crisis, a New Zealand-based health manager has said the social determinants of health need to be addressed in the fight against diabetes and obesity.
“The chief executive of Auckland's South Seas Healthcare, Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo, said about 14 percent of Pacific adults in New Zealand were obese - a number that remains stubbornly high.
“Lemalu said there should be more discussion about the social factors impacting Pasifika families - such as housing, gambling and poverty.
"It's not just a health problem. Health is important, but you need to look at income and safety and security and everything else. It requires a whole lot of groups including families to come together and actually have one main goal.”
Source: Radio New Zealand.