RHEUMATIC heart disease will be one of the issues Miss Fiji Priscilla Reddy will address at this year's Miss South Pacific Pageant to be held in the Solomon Islands in December.
And Hibiscus Events Group Inc (HEGI) chairman Hirdesh Prasad believes she will represent the issue well as she suffers from the disease.
Ms Reddy said the disease was a major issue not only in Fiji but across the Pacific.
"It grows faster than it should because people don't really recognise it as an issue," she said.
She said the first step to combatting such issues was awareness, followed by education on diet, lifestyle, and access to medication.
"We have the medication available. It's just knowing that you need it and committing to it."
Ms Reddy said that since last week's release of the theme, Our Women, Our Pride, her team had begun working on costumes and wardrobes.
She added that she exercised regularly, such as walking or visiting the gym.
She said she was looking forward to her first visit to the Solomon Islands, and that preparations have been going smoothly.
Main categories for judging: Research topic presentation; traditional attire; sarong; talent; and public judging.