BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
70 PERCENT of all deaths in the country are due to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Prime Minister Rick Hou says deaths due to heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.
Speaking at a high-level roundtable meeting on a NCD policy roadmap yesterday, PM Hou said it is no doubt NCDs poses the single biggest threat to the future development aspirations of the people and the country.
“Many of our people that do not die from acute NCDs causes suffer irreparable damage that incapacitates them from work for the rest of their lives. This simply means that NCDs does not only kill; it also causes untold suffering to those affected, preventing them from ever working again. And worse still it causes family members who work to leave their jobs to care for their loved ones”.
Hou said that NCDs not only rob the country of its intellectual capacity (due to NCD mortality) but it also undermines the quality of performance of the country’s economic engine. This is through declining labour force performance resulting from NCD-related disabilities.
PM Hou said NCDs also costs the government a lot of money.
“If you visit the NRH, the majority of beds in the hospital are occupied by NCDs patients. As already noted, NCDs result in higher unemployment rates, as relatives leave work to care for their loved ones. In some instances, children are leaving school early to care for their parents who suffer from NCDs”.
Hou said this is becoming a serious issue as NCDs is said to be the source of poverty increase in Solomon Islands.
He also said the current NCD epidemic has the potential to wipe out the cream of the working population even before the impact of issues that currently dominate global, regional and national headlines – such as climate change – become significant threats to lives.
PM Hou said it is very important to note that NCDs is a silent killer.
In Solomon Islands, 60 out of a hundred Solomon Islanders are overweight or obese, while 56 percent of Solomon Island men smoke cigarettes, with an increase number of women that also smokes.
88 out of a hundred Solomon Islanders do not have a proper diet or do not have proper meals.
“We have a very high level of physical inactivity and live on unhealthy fast foods and refined foods leading to obesity”, PM Hou said.