THE Foundation for the Empowerment of Rural Integrated Enterprises (FRIEND Fiji) has launched a new awareness phase that will focus on improving the general health and wellbeing of those in rural communities by emphasising traditional food and dietary patterns, for the next three years.
Director Sashi Kiran said it had been difficult to witness the adversities of diabetes and NCDs in the communities they visited.
"It's been very difficult for us to see people in wheelchairs, bedridden, amputated and having the challenge of just mobilising within their own set up," she said in Tuvu, Ba.
"What did we eat before, when we did not have so many issues? We had a very organic way of life, traditionally if we look at our resources and what our people had and we keep questioning what we had before, when we did not have so many health problems."
She said initially it was commonly thought that diabetes was an "Indian disease" because of the consumption of sweets but data now showed a prevalence among indigenous Fijians with diabetes, cancer and hypertension.