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.