ACCORDING to Health Ministry projections, 50 per cent of people in Fiji are expected to have diabetes within the next five years.
Minister Dr Neil Sharma said this meant that every second person in the country may have the disease by then.
Speaking at the opening of the new dialysis centre at the Labasa Hospital, Dr Sharma labelled the projections carried out 18 months ago as very frightening.
Dr Sharma said diabetes had become a very huge problem in Fiji, adding that seven years ago the incidence rate was less than 16 per cent.
"We have put up strategies as part of our efforts to be able to look at the wide range of the disease's effects, including the improvement in the state and condition of health for people in the country," he said.
"We aim at maintaining and assisting in having productive and useful members of the community around the country.
"In the past five and a half years we have ensured that all our facilities are up to date because you can live with diabetes but once a patient develops complications on target organs it becomes a major problem."
Dr Sharma said the ministry strived to provide laser and cataract treatment and, hopefully, reduce the incidence of blindness arising out of diabetes.
"In 2009, we set up a cat lab so that all heart disease associated with diabetes could be treated locally."