18 Feb 2013

NCD top priority for new director of health in American Samoa

5:17 am on 18 February 2013

The new director of health in American Samoa says the fight against non-communicable disease in the territory should be given emergency status.

Mortusa Tuileama Nua has just started his four-year tenure and says tackling the high rate of non-communicable disease such as diabetes and heart problems will be a top priority.

He says obesity is a leading risk factor.

He says a whole lifestyle change is required in terms of what food is eaten, the way it's prepared, and how active people are.

Mortusa says in conjunction with the work already done by the NCD coalition, which he is now chair of, an action plan needs to be moved forward.

"Eventually end up on the governor's desk and also take it to our legislature and make this a top priority for our people and make it an emergency issue."

Mortusa Tuileama Nua says they are also trying to work with the independent state of Samoa because it has similar problems.