The vice president of the Tonga medical association, Dr Saia Piukala, says a pro-active approach to tackling non-communicable diseases in the community is a way forward.
Surgeons from around the Pacific region met in Nuku'alofa last week for the 9th biennial conference of the Pacific Islands Surgeons Association, to discuss and plan how to deal with common issues.
Dr Saia Piukala says the prevalence of NCDs in the Pacific is growing, and says hiring a health coordinator to conduct tests in the community is proving to be successful in Tonga.
"We have identified a community co-ordinator, that rather than waiting for patients to come to the hospital, they call to the community and do screening and identify early detection. And timely treatment is very important."
Dr Saia Piukala says surgeons who attended the conference also discussed ways to better prepare for natural disasters.