‘NCD accounts for around 80 per cent of all deaths’

Colgate mascot Dr Rabbit was also part of the World Heart Day march through Suva, on Friday, September 30, 2022. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Cure Kids Fiji in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services held a World Heart Day march in Suva yesterday to raise awareness on rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) head of surgery Dr Josese Turagava said non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were the leading cause of death in Fiji.

“NCD accounts for around 80 per cent of all deaths,” Dr Turagava said.

“It averages around 5000 to 6000 deaths per year and the top four of all are cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory disease and cancer.”

Dr Turagava said the heart was in the centre of all those causes.

“If your heart is diseased, you can have a heart attack or even a stroke, and ultimately your respiratory system and all other systems in the body like your kidney and liver will all fail.

“If you add smoking, they will add to the damage and when your heart fails to pump, ultimately you will die — you do not have to wait for a stroke or heart attack to change your lifestyle.”

RHD Control and Prevention Community Organisation manager Erini Tokarua said the march held yesterday was an awareness event.

“We’ve never done something as big as this,” she said.

“It was just amazing for us to bring it out into the public – since we have awareness on pinktober we wanted people to know about RHD as well.

“Our message today is don’t wait until it’s too late.”

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