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Changing our lives now

Fred Wesley
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

It is worrying that the Health Ministry has expressed concern over the increase in number of people being amputated because of non-communicable diseases.

Health Minister Rosy Akbar said 669 amputations were recorded by the ministry's Health and Information Unit in 2015 and this increased to 791 in 2016.

The increase in NCD cases, she said, had become a great burden to the nation.

Right at the top is diabetes and its complications, she said, which was a major cause of death and disability in Fiji.

A key challenge is the fact that many cases go undiagnosed, she said, resulting in many people accessing healthcare services at a later stage when conditions get complicated and expensive to manage.

Statistics showed, she said, that the amputation rates mounted from 12.1 to 12.6 per cent from 2015 to 2016.

We agree with her that tackling NCDs does not mean just building more hospitals and bringing more medicines.

We can fight NCDs by committing ourselves to making healthy changes to our lifestyle on a daily basis.

That means eating healthy food and exercising daily.

"Doctors can only advise you on what needs to be done, but when it comes to making the changes to prevent NCDs, it's about the choices you and I make," she said.

In December last year, a three-year-old was admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva diagnosed with diabetes. It raised a lot of concern among health professionals at the time.

She made a point about the general notion that at one stage only elders suffered from high blood pressure and would suffer strokes. This has changed, she said.

The challenge is now on how we can become part of the campaign to change our eating habits and general lifestyle.

For many people, changing eating habits is not going to be easy.

But we have to make a concerted effort to make a change. It is actually getting critical now.

Surely we can start by educating ourselves about how to enhance our daily diets, and with that, perhaps, develop a habit to do at least a few minutes of exercises daily.

The greatest challenge for many of us is getting past the first hurdle, which is to take the first step forward on the path to a better and healthier life.

Otherwise we will continue to mull over worrying figures of people being amputated because of non-communicable diseases.

The commitment for change is really in our hands.

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