Editorial comment- Taking a swipe at NCDs

Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Picture: Picture: FT FILE/SUPPLIED

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made no bones about the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on our economy and the nation.

Speaking at a high level meeting on NCDs at the UN headquarters in New York this week, he spoke about the fact this had prompted Government to use a huge amount of its national budget to upgrade the health sector and invest in medical specialist training.

NCDs, he said, were critically problematic around the world, but in small island developing states, the urgency was even more evident.

He spoke about an issue he termed as “of epidemic proportions in Fiji”.

He said it was an issue that cut lives short, held back our economy, and threatened the future of our nation.

That was why, he said, Government had pledged action, and was taking a holistic approach to find solutions that he insisted could turn the tide for a healthier, happier, and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.

He said while the Government had recognised that it could not fully solve the problem of NCDs, Fijians were urged to live a healthy lifestyle.

The Government, he said, had started working with the private sector to establish state of the art medical facilities.

There was a concerted effort to inject significant capital into developing public sporting fields and facilities, from Olympic-sized pools to gyms to walkways throughout Fiji.

There was also a concerted effort to partner with NGOs to encourage lifelong healthy habits and stave off NCDs.

This focus of attention on NCDs is obviously good for the nation.

It actually places NCDs on a very high plane and we hope can encourage people to be proactive.

It is encouraging to note the attention being placed on NCDs and the energy and drive to start a process that is dedicated to nurturing healthy habits.

The challenge obviously is on the masses to embrace change.

That means a change in mindset for starters.

It means awareness, understanding the importance of healthy habits, and being part of the effort to fight NCDs.

Prevention is quite critical to decrease NCDs death rates.

The risk of developing NCDs could also be lowered by Fijians making healthy choices for themselves and their families.

We must be aware of information about NCDs.

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

Let us join the campaign to fight NCDs.

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