Editorial comment – Important issues

Miss Civil Servants Fulori Waibuta (left) and Miss Fiji Sugar Corporation Akanisi Raisua contest for the Queen’s title at this year’s Ba Riverside Carnival. Picture: REINAL CHAND

IT was good to note the report in yesterday’s edition about two beauty contestants and their chosen research and advocacy topics.

Akanisi Raisua and Fulori Waibuta have chosen suicide and non-communicable diseases as issues they will advocate at the Ba River Carnival.

Ms Raisua believes suicide is an issue that confronts young people.

“I know there are those who go through so much hardship that they feel suicide is the only option, but it’s not the solution,” the law student said.

“I want to inspire other young people and teenagers and inform them they are not alone.”

Ms Waibuta, a final year medical student, said there was a high prevalence of NCDs in the community.

“This is something I wish to spread more awareness on,” she said.

Ms Waibuta said people also needed to take charge of their health and look after themselves. They are part of seven contestants vying for the Miss Ba Riverside crown.

More Fijians die from cardiovascular-related illnesses than from diabetes, we are told.

A joint statement by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the World Health Organization revealed that in 2017, Fiji had almost twice as many cardiovascular-related deaths as those resulting from diabetes.

In line with global trends, cardiovascular disease takes the lives of 17.7 million people each year, accounting for 31 per cent of all deaths worldwide. While diabetes-related diseases are not the leading cause of death in Fiji, it said, NCDs such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are major concerns for Fiji.

Prevention obviously is quite critical to decrease NCDs death rates.

The risk of developing NCDs could also be lowered by Fijians making healthy choices.

A person becomes more at risk of cardiovascular disease when they have raised blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and or are overweight or obese.

So it actually matters that early identification of Fijians who are at risk of developing these diseases is paramount.

Health facilities, the joint statement said, can also provide free advice on how to reduce risk.

This is quite important to note. But while we have to accept the fact that screenings and other health programs are well and good, the challenge is really on us as individuals to be proactive. We must be aware of information about NCDs.

We should understand and appreciate the changes that must happen in our lives.

Does it really matter that more Fijians die from cardiovascular-related illnesses than from diabetes?

Should we be concerned about the fact that they are actually issues we must address urgently? How about fighting temptation, and staying on course with a change in mind-set?

We just might get the best chance to make changes needed to prevent these life-threatening NCDs.

Suicides on the other hand, are devastating tragedies and need our attention. Maybe we should be making prevention a priority.

Perhaps we need some basic guidance and awareness and understanding to be part of this process.

It has to happen though.

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