Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

Get checked for improved knowledge of your health

The Ministry of Health & Medical Services has identified that there is an urgent need to screen Fijians for Diabetes and Hypertension. This is part of the National NCD screening programme which focuses of the over-30 population.

This is necessary to detect and determine their behavioral risk factors, including blood sugar, blood pressure and BMI (height and weight). This knowledge allows people to take better control of their health and manage their risk factors.

July is Wellness Month, with the theme Don’t Delay, Get Checked Today. During 2015, the Health Ministry is targeting a population of 90,000 people for screening.

Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are an increasing problem for Fiji both in terms of increasing economic and social burden.

The last STEPS survey (2011) found that 30% of Fijians are Diabetic, 31% are Hypertensive.

35% are overweight and 32% are obese. These alarming figures are caused by the changing lifestyles of many Fijians towards unhealthy habits and behaviors. There is a diabetes related amputation every 12.6 hours in Fiji with half of those patients unaware that they are diabetic.

The four major risk factors (lifestyle related and modifiable) are smoking, unhealthy eating habits leading to overweight and obesity, alcohol abuse and lack of physical activity abbreviated as SNAP. Common NCDs are Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases (hypertension, strokes, and Heart attacks), cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. These four NCDs cause up to 80% of premature deaths and disabilities in Fiji. Furthermore, Heart disease is the biggest killer in Fiji at this time.

The National Advisor for Non Communicable Diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana said, “One area that the Health Ministry is focusing on is the orientation towards wellness. This aims at incorporating everyone towards a healthy and productive living. Without change in behavior or habit, NCDs will remain a growing concern”.

All Fijians are urged to engage in a healthy lifestyle to combat NCDs. To achieve this, it is important to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, drink at least 10-12 glasses of water, and do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day and also to avoid smoking, alcohol and kava consumption.

Don't delay, get checked today!
Don’t delay, get checked today!

Dance for Health

The NCD Unit in Lautoka, in collaboration with Lautoka City Council, has commenced community dance classes every Wednesday afternoon at Shirley Park from 5 – 6.15pm. The initiative aims to encourage and motivate local citizens to engage in regular physical activity to reduce their risk of developing NCDs.

Based in Shirley Park, the location allows for a large, open and central space for local citizens to exercise in natural surroundings. The Lautoka City Council has kindly donated the grounds for free, allowing a lower price ($2 per person) for people to participate, whilst free health screenings are available periodically by the Ministry of Health staff.

Health Ministry monitors MERS-CoV outbreak

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has issued an alert to the people of Fiji that an outbreak of the MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) in the Middle East which was highlighted by WHO could reach Fiji, although the risk is very low.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), previously known as novel coronavirus (nCoV), is a viral respiratory illness, which was first reported in Saudi Arabia, in 2012 and has spread to other countries in the neighboring Arabian peninsula.

The virus has now reached Europe, Africa, and Asia with Korea and China the latest.

The symptoms of MERS-CoV are severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, shortness of breath, chills, chest pain and malaise – a general feeling of being unwell.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MoHMS) has put in place necessary strategies to address the MERS-CoV threat should it reach Fiji.

The Multi Agency Technical Advisory Group was mobilized to facilitate preparations for border control, clinical management, laboratory testing and Surveillance, in anticipation of any suspected case.

The Ministry is spearheading the preparedness response plan particularly as it recognizes the international spread of MERS-CoV

The Health further advises people to take the following precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the virus.

  • Frequent hand-washing is advised with soap and water
  • Avoid undercooked meat or food prepared under unhygienic conditions
  • Ensure fruit and vegetables are properly washed before consumption
  • If a traveller develops acute respiratory illness with fever, they should minimize close contact with others, wear a medical mask, sneeze into a sleeve, flexed elbow or tissue (making sure it is disposed of properly after use)

Meanwhile the Ministry remains vigilant in its approach to contain MERS-CoV as the surveillance has been upscaled.