25 Aug 2009

Non communicable illnesses target of health conference in Fiji

11:21 am on 25 August 2009

For the first time, specialists and health administrators from across the Pacific region are gathering to discuss the issue of non communicable diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The week long Pacific Non Communicable Diseases Forum is being held in Nadi by the World Health Organisation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and is part of a joint approach between 19 Pacific nations and territories to tackle the issue.

Dr Temo Waqanivalu, a Nutrition and Physical Activities Officer for the WHO in Suva, says the aim of the forum is to have the 50 delegates discuss ways to fight the epidemic of non communicable diseases.

"What we will be gathering over these four days is there progress in terms of the work that they're actually doing to try and solve the problem and identifying some of the gaps and helping them in building their capacity and the skills to be able to go back and move a step further."

Dr Temo Waqanivalu says the focus will be on addressing the main risk factors such as unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, tobacco and physical inactivity.