FIJI has taken decisive steps towards addressing non-communicable diseases through vigorous health campaigns and increased taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.
These, said acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, were some of the steps being taken to address NCDs in the country.
"While we recognise that there is a need to focus on sustained health programs, we also need to focus on sustained livelihoods because trade in itself has an impact on the ability of our people to live sustained livelihoods," he said.
Speaking at the opening of a workshop in Nadi where discussions were centred on the link between NCDs and trade, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji took NCDs very seriously.
"We have given NCDs a lot of prominence over the past two, three years. We need to also understand and discuss the issue of free trade agreements and our ability to stop unhealthy foods entering the markets. In Fiji, we use our taxation system to address this issue in a more decisive manner. We've raised duty on alcohol and cigarettes over the past few years and have at the same time lowered our duty on imported food and vegetables, thereby making it a lot more accessible."
The four-day workshop started on Monday.