I MUST commend the Ministry of Health for its unrelenting commitment and resolve in putting necessary measures in place to combat the rising incidence of non communicable diseases.
They are leaving no stone unturned in taking the bull by the horn to grapple with the problem.
The vigorous awareness campaigns and other educational programs are proving quite effective as the message is sinking in though at a slow pace.
But a more concerted effort is required to attack this national issue from all front.
First and foremost it requires a total lifestyle change which includes your eating habits and the quality of food that you consume which is entirely in your hands.
As somebody once said "you are what you eat". Of course more regular physical activities or exercise is also essential to maintain a healthy and productive life.
Latest reports illustrate that almost half of our population are suffering from NCDs.
Equally alarming is the high rate of adult mortality in Fiji.
Statistics released by Ministry of Health estimates that less than fifty percent of our male population live beyond the age of 60.
Unfortunately, some of the initiatives implemented by Government to alleviate poverty is proving to be counterproductive in mitigating the risk of NCDs.
The savings from schemes such as free tuition fees, free bus fare, free medicine and free water have insidiously placed more cash into the pockets of the recipients which in turn increases their susceptibility to spend more money on cigarettes, grog and alcohol.
Furthermore, the continued dependence on hand-outs will inexorably lead them to become more indolent thus increasing their vulnerability to NCDs. Similarly the extended nightclub hours is also detrimental to promoting good health.
Not to mention that all these factors also contribute to social problems.
I believe the Government is doing its level best to reverse the trend and it is incumbent upon us as responsible citizens to rise to the challenge by taking heed of the advice.
But we must act now for leaving it until next week or next month or next year could prove too little too late.
But then you can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink.