PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela has called on Pacific Island leaders to take the lead in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region.
PM Hou told the Pacific Islands Forum earlier this week that the NCD crises is happening under the watch of Pacific leaders.
“The trend of NCDs can be slowed. It can be reserved. The NCD Road map outlines the strategies to achieve reversal. Leaders need to own it. Countries that have adapted the NCD Roadmap and implemented it are making good progress,” he said.
He said pacific leaders need to direct active implementation of the NCD Roadmap in all countries.
Hou said Pacific Island Governments must take leadership and lead the fight against NCDs.
“Political leadership is key to the path to transformation. Leaders need to be personally involved in the fight against NCDs – our leadership should be directed towards framing NCDs as an obstacle to national economic and social development.”
Hou said leaders must take national responsibility in the battle against NCDs.
“Institutionalising and formalising mechanisms are also vital to ensure that NCDs do not fall off the political agenda.”
Going forward, the Prime Minister said Pacific island leaders must recognise the human, social and economic impact of NCDs in pacific countries and territories, calling on governments, the private sector, civil society, regional and international organisations and development partners to work together to address the rapidly unfolding NCDs crisis.
“If leaders do not take decisive action to have countries implement the NCD Roadmap, the future is bleak. NCDs, currently responsible for between 70 – 80 percent of all deaths is likely to increase even further,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said like other Pacific countries, Solomon Islands also faces the NCD crises.
The Prime Minister said NCD related costs constitute the highest proportion of health expenditure.
“Solomon Islands hopes to complete its whole of government and whole of society national NCD action plan to halt and reverse the trend of NCDs in the country this year,” he said.