30 Aug 2010

Fiji Health Minister calls for holistic approach to non-communicable diseases

11:17 am on 30 August 2010

Fiji's Minister of Health, Dr Neil Sharma, says his country is facing an obesity epidemic accompanied by soaring rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Figures show that more than 80 percent of deaths in Fiji are due to these non-communicable diseases.

Dr Neil Sharma says a five year strategic plan has just been completed and his ministry is seeking assistance from international donors and the World Health Organisation to achieve more focus in tackling the problem.

He says a multi pronged approach is needed including reducing salt and sugar intakes, promoting adequate exercise and screening people.

"And once the screening is undertaken, we are setting up diabetic hubs and looking at comprehensive holistic care for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. With that we hope to be able to contain the disease. I don't have a clear idea as to what extent we will have to go to, but we need direction on that."