Similar to the situation in the Solomon Islands, health advocates are calling for urgent action on diabetes in Fiji
A health advocate in Fiji says something desperately needs to be done to combat diabetes with almost 1700 people dying annually from the disease.
The call comes alongside revelations that diabetes related amputations account for 40 percent of hospital operations there.
Diabetes Fiji is a local NGO formed to help address what has been described as a disastrous situation with close to 20 percent of the population being diabetic.
The Professor of Surgery at the National University, Eddie McHaig, says a non-communicable disease crisis is longer an apt description of the situation.
"It's not something new. Our diabetes rate is increasing. We keep hearing about it and we all tired of it, the NCD crisis but it’s not a crisis it is a tsunami and its hit us big time."
Professor McHaig points out he has been warning about the impact of diabetes for decades.
"I could have given this same talk to you 20 years ago, and I have given it 20 years ago. Before we started the diabetic hub, I said that if we let things go we would be a population of blind, one legged people."
He says he made suggestions to the government which went unheeded.
"Introduce into schools early, how to eat, how to behave, how to exercise. Ministry of Labour I suggested that we have a weight restriction and certainly with renewal of contracts, if you have gained too much weight you don't get your contract renewed.”
Source: Radio New Zealand.
Sadly, in the Solomon Islands, NCD’s are causing high numbers of illnesses and deaths resulting from heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes and respiratory problems.
NCD’s are fuelled by risk factors such as smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and the harmful use of alcohol, including kwaso.
A health spokesperson from the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health has said,
“Non-Communicable Diseases cause a huge drain on our society, not only in terms of economic costs but also the effect they have on families,”
“More than ever before, we must deal with the premature death of loved ones or a disability related to these diseases.”
NCD’s are preventable so please heed the advice being given on diet and lifestyle changes.