Dr Sharma: NCDs need to be addressed

Former Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Neil Sharma attends the Fiji College of General Practitioners Seminar at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Sigatoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

We have focused very firmly on COVID and let things loose on NCDs, which is the largest killer, says former health minister Dr Neil Sharma.

He said this while discussing the future challenges during his presentation on strengthening fragile healthcare systems at the Pacific Update 2021 last month.

“Unfortunately, the focus on NCD, which is causing the maximum amount of death in this country, premature death through health disease, diabetes, mental health, all these issues need to be addressed, streamlined and put up-to-date,” Dr Sharma said.

“If you look at the future challenges, I think these are areas which we really need to give thought as a whole of society measure, urgent healthcare strengthening of facilities is needed,” he said.

“Our supply chain of medication and consumables is important.

“Our technology is in need of upgrade and servicing and our human resource needs to be optimised.

“We have focused very firmly on COVID and we’ve let things loose on NCDs, which is the largest killer.”

He also said there was a greater need for public awareness and health literacy.

“Additionally, if you look at health literacy, I don’t think the general Pacific literacy levels are high enough for people to understand health literacy as such.

“There is need for greater public awareness; we need to address the macroeconomic issues whilst factoring in the macroeconomics issues, food security, well-being and livelihood are all affected.”

Earlier, Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said once the ministry had completed the containment phase for COVID, many of their programs would need to be reoriented.

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