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Editorial: Act Now And Fight NCDs

Editorial: Act Now And Fight NCDs
July 05
10:43 2018

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), referred to on many occasions as lifestyle diseases, does not only affect the person but can impinge on his or her family, community, and work in terms of productivity, and overall economic growth.

The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases.

While opening the National Diabetes Footcare Symposium in Suva this week the Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Alex O’Conor, encouraged Fijians to work together in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

Surely, the public’s help is needed to address the deadly diseases and to change lifestyle habits. These bad habits include excessive alcohol intake, tobacco use and increasing reliance on processed foods.

Additionally, consuming foods high in sugar, oil and salt increases the risk of getting diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Realistically, NCDs affect productivity levels and the quality of life of the affected person.

So are we walking the talk? Sharing the work? And leaving our habits?

Let’s be serious about this Fiji. Now is the time to act. We can no longer afford to wait and say to ourselves ‘we’ll start working out tomorrow’ or ‘tomorrow is another day’.   

If anything, procrastination steals the most valuable thing in this world and that is life.

Many people are fighting for their lives because of the choices they’ve made.

Most of them may be wishing if only they could turn back time and change their habits behind.

The World Health Organisation in its report says that NCDs are the three leading causes of disability and deaths in the country were heart diseases, diabetes and stroke.

It says that NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

“Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care. Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services,” the report said.

People of all age groups here in Fiji and other countries are affected by NCDs.

WHO added that 15 million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occur between the ages of 30 and 69 years.

Of these “premature” deaths, over 85 per cent are estimated to occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors contributing to NCDs, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco or the harmful use of alcohol. The NCDs problem in Fiji and the region has been termed a crisis. It is time that we all join in the fight against NCDs.

Our fight starts with us by changing our lifestyle.



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