NATION

Village Leads Levuka in Tobacco-Free programme

A rural community based in Levuka, Ovalau has been commended for its efforts to create a tobacco-free environment. Naviteitei Village in the tikina of Bureta became the first community in Levuka
03 May 2017 15:37
Village Leads Levuka in Tobacco-Free programme
Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar (standing, fifth from left) with in Ovalau Island on May 2, 2017. Photo: Ministry of Health and Medical Services

A rural community based in Levuka, Ovalau has been commended for its efforts to create a tobacco-free environment.

Naviteitei Village in the tikina of Bureta became the first community in Levuka to declare Bureta community hall as the tobacco-free zone.

Currently the statistics in Fiji after a survey indicated that more than 80 per cent of the deaths are linked to non-communicable diseases and tobacco smoking is the highest contributing factor to NCD.

This programme has been launched by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in partnership with the World Health Organisation.

More than 250 people gathered at the Bureta Community Hall showed their support for the venture that aims to raise awareness on the health hazard of smoking and its consequences.

The programme was officiated by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar and (WHO) Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo.

The delegation was accorded with the traditional welcoming ceremony.

A billboard stating, “Welcome to Tobacco Free Community Hall,” was unveiled as part of the community’s commitment to ensure strictly prohibit any smoking or tobacco consumption in the community.

Ms Akbar said: “This is not just a billboard it is the pride of your village and together you are going to lead this change by saying no to tobacco or smoking.

“Now in total there are six tobacco free villages and 52 tobacco-free village community halls in Fiji. ‘Tobacco free’ emphasises the health of all, including the non-smokers who are protected from second-hand smoke, as well as reducing overall tobacco use.

“Research has shown that making public places and workplaces smoke free encourages smokers to quit. To the residents of Levuka, especially the tikina of Bureta, you should stand proud of your achievements this day, you have certainly aligned yourselves to the Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the United Nations Development Programme and that is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.

“You are setting a great example of healthy living for the future generation.

Speaking on behalf of the Bureta tikina, the chief of Naviteitei village Ratu Jone Davila, Turaga na Ratu-i-Bureta said: “I would like to thank Government especially our Prime Minister and Minister for Health for their committment in assisting maritime communities. ”

Dr Shin said that WHO was proud to support Fiji in its endeavour to important community health programmes.

“Sustainability and enforcement of these declarations requires the support of community members. It is anticipated that more villages will follow suit after identifying the benefits of this initiative and the Health Ministry remains committed to assist them with all available resources.”

Naviteitei Village also received three water tanks (10,000 litres each) and sporting equipment from the WHO.

Similarly three water tanks (10,000 litres each) were donated to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and would be used by the nursing stations and Bureta Health Centre in Levuka.

Source: Ministry of Health and Medical Services

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