Fiji National Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors STEPS Surveys

The Fiji National Non-Communicable Diseases STEP Surveys uses the WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS), the WHO-recommended surveillance tool for:

• chronic disease risk factors, and

• chronic disease-specific morbidity and mortality.

It provides an entry point for low and middle income countries to get started on chronic diseases surveillance activities. It is also designed to help countries build and strengthen their capacity to conduct surveillance. STEPS is a sequential process. It starts with gathering key information on risks factors with a questionnaire, then moves to simple physical measurements, and then to more complex collection of blood samples for biochemical analysis. STEPS emphasizes that small amounts of good quality data are more valuable than large amounts of poor data. It is based on the following two key premises:

• collection of standardised data, and

• flexibility for use in a variety of country situations and settings.

Fiji was one of the four countries selected to pilot the WHO NCD STEPS Survey, together with Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia and Samoa. The Fiji NCD STEPS survey is a milestone for medical research in Fiji for it entails validated methodology and research instruments for NCD never undertaken before. The survey resulted in the renewed commitment of the Fiji government and in the formulation of the comprehensive National NCD Strategic Plan 2004-2008.
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