Strengthening Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific

 Strengthening Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific

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The Honourable Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr. Jone Usamate (front row 4th from left) and Director Health Information Research and Analysis Mr. Shivnay Naidu (second row 5th from left) attended the first meeting of the regional (Asia and Pacific) steering group in Bangkok, Thailand last week. Mr. Usamate was elected as the chair of the regional steering group with Bangladesh and Philippines as vice–chairs from 29 countries represented at the meeting. The Ministerial declaration to “Get Every One in the Picture” in November 2014 led to the declaration of Asian and Pacific Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Decade, 2015-2024 and formulation of the Regional Action Framework (RAF) on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific. The first meeting decided on approaches and modalities for providing regional support to the implementation of the RAF, reviewed the draft guidelines for implementation of the RAF and discussed the development of further tools and research to support the improvement of CRVS and developed the programme of work for the Regional Steering Group for the period 2015–2019.

Newly appointed chair of the Regional Steering Group, Honourable Mr. Jone Usamate, Minister for Health and Medical Services, Fiji, acknowledged the importance of regional knowledge-sharing to advance CRVS systems: “Knowledge exchange and sharing lessons learnt is an integral part of strengthening CRVS in countries,” he said. “Strong political support, innovative ideas and integrating existing information systems lead to developing country-led doable action items through collaborative development partners’ assistance.” Fiji with its National CRVS committee comprising of members from Registrar General’s Office, Fiji Bureau of Statistics, Government ITC services and the Ministry Health & Medical Services continues to work together in close partnership to accelerate its efforts to strengthen CRVS systems in Fiji to ensure every Fijian is registered.

China provides medical aid to Fiji

China provides medical aid to Fiji

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A high-powered delegation from China led by His Excellency Llhongzong (Party Secretary of the CPC Hubei Provincial Committee & Chairman of the standing committee of the Hubei Provincial Peoples’ Congress) met the Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

Hubei Province is the most powerful state of china with highly advanced medical facilities, and has offered to assist Fiji develop into a comparable medical service provider.

While meeting Mr Usamate, His Excellency Llhongzhong also presented medical equipment and consumables to the Ministry to enable health facilities to provide better quality healthcare services, and will continue with similar arrangements as per demand.

In his address to the senior staff of the Ministry, His Excellency Lihongzhong said that the Hubei Province intends to work closely with Fiji to improve health services.

On behalf of the government and the Health Ministry, Mr Usamate conveyed his deepest gratitude to the delegation for assuring such assistance in Fiji’s health sector development.

“Fiji and China have enjoyed a very good relationship for many years and I am grateful for the opportunity to work in partnership as China has always stood by Fiji to provide assistance in the development of a number of projects”, said Mr Usamate.

Mr Usamate and the senior staff of the Ministry were invited to visit the healthcare facilities to get firsthand knowledge of the level of medical services provided in the Hubei Province.

Time to move Fiji

Time to move Fiji

Last Thursday, the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services released the results of the 2011 STEPS Survey. Physical activity is one of the areas captured in this survey. It highlighted decreasing levels of physical activity with age, significantly less daily physical activity for women compared to men, along with high rates of obesity and waist circumferences in the sample population. These things are contributing to the poor health of the nation with women most at risk.

The latest survey results show that on a daily average, women are spending only half of the time that men do on physical activity. Of the population surveyed, 100% of the women had waist circumferences >80cm and 75% of men had waist circumferences >90cm which categorizes them with central obesity. Only 23.1% of women and 29.9% of men were within their normal weight range according to BMI classifications.   The amount of physical activity decreased with age across all areas, and around half of the surveyed participants indicated that they had no recreation (leisure) related physical activity.

What does all of this mean for us? Why should we care? The message is clear – Fijians need to move more for their health.

Physical inactivity is a major contributing factor to Fiji’s current non-communicable disease (NCD) crisis.   Heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes & cancers are the four leading NCDs. It is never too late to start moving either, even if you already have a disease.

According to Dr. Temica Mitchell, Peace Corps Volunteer, acting as Physical Activity Officer at the Ministry of Health’s Wellness Centre; “People do not fully realise the positive impact physical activity can have on managing health issues such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol as well as maintaining a healthy weight. It is important that people move more now in whatever way they can in order to help normalise abnormal blood work and better yet avoiding getting abnormal results in the first place”.

Fiji National Recommended Guidelines for Physical Activity from Ministry of Health, adopted from the World Health Organisation guidelines, are: children (5 – 18 years) should have 60 minutes of play almost everyday while adults (18 – 65 years) engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise, at least 5 times per week.  Seniors (65+ yrs) are recommended to maintain the adult standard for as long as physically capable.

Lack of time and energy, work and family commitments and lack of facilities are common barriers to physical activity.

“Being physically active doesn’t have to be at the expense of other life commitments such as family and work. One of the great things is that it can be free, performed anywhere and done with others – instead of sitting around for tea/ coffee to catch up, try walking together as a group. Or, take the kids outside and be active as a family.”

There are many ways to increase your physical activity. Find any footpath and start walking. Put in an aerobics DVD and with your family in your front room get moving more. Join a class at the YMCA, or dance fitness at Civic Centre twice a week. Take part in monthly or quarterly community physical activity events such as public walks, triathlons, sports days. Join a community sporting or leisure physical activity group or even start your own. Many workplaces are doing classes together, too.

More information on physical activity can always be found at Ministry of Health’s Wellness Centre, or ask your local physiotherapists about how to get started.