NCDs leading cause of death in Fiji, says PS Health

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong, Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport permanent secretary Shaheen Ali and Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil during the national workshop on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at the Albert Park pavilion in Suva . Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Non-Communicable diseases have been the leading cause of deaths in Fiji, accounting for over 80 per cent of total deaths per year.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong said an average of 5000 to 6000 people die from NCDs every year.

Speaking at the National Workshop on non-communicable diseases at the Albert Park conference room in Suva yesterday, Dr Fong said this silent epidemic had been worsening for decades. “And the potential for worsening trends will continue unless we take preemptive actions.”

Dr Fong said NCDs had been the leading cause of diseases, admissions, and disability for a very long time and the inability to address it comprehensively was mostly because of the fact there were multi-sectorial factors that contributed to the increasing burden of the NCDs.

“In other words, NCDs are not just a health issue but a whole of society issue, socioeconomic and development issue.

“The economic costs associated with NCDs is alarming, costing the Fijian economy in the range of $248.6 to $406.4 million in 2015.

“This is equivalent to between 2.7 per cent and 4.4 per cent of the country’s 2015 gross domestic product, and represented a cost of between 286-467 per person in Fiji.

“The social impact of the disease is exemplified by the terrible truth that our community in Fiji either suffers from one or more NCD diseases — or knows someone who does. In one way or another we all deal with the adverse impact that premature death has on individuals, families and communities.”

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