Saturday, May 25, 2024
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NCDs leading cause of deaths in Fiji: Minister

In the last two years, 12,000 Fijians have lost their lives to Non Communicable Diseases.

This has been highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Antonio Lalabalavu.

In a statement, he said that the Ministry has noted that Non-Communicable Diseases are not only affecting older Fijians but also younger Fijians in their 20s and 30s, resulting in fatalities from heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and diabetes.

Dr Lalabalavu said the burden of NCDs transcends health implications, posing significant barriers to development and economic growth.

Dr Lalabalavu said the increasing number of premature deaths due to NCDs impedes productivity leading to economic losses – The loss of productivity, economic growth, and resources allocated to treating NCDs underscores the critical need for comprehensive interventions.

He said statistics reveal that 80 percent of Fiji’s annual mortality is attributed to NCDs, with heart disease and diabetes emerging as major contributions to death statistics and to address the dire NCD situation in Fiji, a multi-faceted approach is crucial, guided by a defined purpose and innovative strategies spanning various sectors to effectively tackle these issues.

“Well-informed high-level policies on the risk factors of NCDs will ensure that we are taking control of the crisis at hand rather than allowing the unfettered presence of NCD risk factors to determine our destiny. COVID-19 has again taught us the intertwining dependency between health and economy. One needs the other for sustainable national growth and development,” he said.

Dr Lalabalavu said that a draft Fiji Policy on Food and Nutrition Security or FPFNS for short, which the Ministry hopes to submit for cabinet endorsement soon together with the Ministry of Agriculture, embodies a holistic, cross-sectorial approach to ensuring food and nutrition security in Fiji.

He said this is aligned with national development plans; the FPFNS’ strategic goal is to make safe and nutritious food accessible and affordable for every Fijian, catering to their dietary needs and cultural preferences for a healthy life.

“Moving forward, transformative policies, multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder engagement and coordination, targeted and increased investment in promoting food and health security best practices, and improved data collection and analysis are integral parts to our collective effort to address chronic diseases in Fiji.”

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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