BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
NINE of the ten most obese countries in the world are from the Pacific with Solomon Islands is rapidly heading toward filling the 10th position.
Fifteen of the top 20 countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world are from the Pacific. Solomon Islands might have already broken into this ‘top 20 club’.
During the round table meeting with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the World Health Organisation the dire issues of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had been deliberated on, with the Prime Minister saying that it is better to be late than never.
He said Pacific countries have a higher prevalence of ‘tobacco use’ than the global average of 23 percent.
“Solomon Islands’ average prevalence on tobacco use is almost double the global average at about 44 percent. The Pacific has been described as the ‘epicentre of the global diabetes epidemic’ and the world’s capital of NCDs”, PM Hou said.
He said it is a sad fact that if they do not address NCDs effectively now, there might be too many more people left to worry about when the worst effects of challenges such as Climate Change, finally catches up with the country.
In 2011, Pacific Health Ministers and Pacific Islands Forum leaders declared an NCD crisis in the Pacific.
In that regard, the Leaders are calling on governments, the private sector, civil society, regional and international organizations and development partners, to work together to address the rising rates of NCDs.
“It must be an all-of-government, all-of-society effort”, Hou said.
In July 2014, Pacific Health Ministers and Economic Ministers approved the Pacific NCD Roadmap, to guide each country’s efforts to reverse the trend of the NCD epidemic in the region.
“Sadly, 7 years after the declaration of the NCD crisis, and four years after the call to develop national NCD roadmaps to combat the NCD epidemic, very few countries heeded this call. And it is extremely disappointing that this is the case in Solomon Islands: where successive Governments – including my own government – had not given the serious attention this killer needed until now”.
“But better late than never”, PM Hou said.