13 Nov 2009

Fiji health authorities alarmed over lifestyle diseases

2:04 pm on 13 November 2009

New figures from Fiji's Ministry of Health show lifestyle diseases are taking a toll on people of working age.

The interim Minister of Health, Dr Neil Sharma, says the government is trying to educate people about taking responsibility for their health but is also increasing medical supplies and training more nurses to cope with the problem.

"We have a young population, 60 per cent of the population is below 30. So between 30 and 50 they are just dying off with diseases from diabetes and heart disease. Both the ethnic groups are equally affected now. So we need to be able to address this as a matter of priority."

The Minister of Health says urbanisation, poverty and poor nutrition are contributing to the increase in diabetes and heart disease.

He says he is also concerned about child mortality rates climbing because of syphilis.

He says the ministry has launched a 'white ribbon' campaign aimed at encouraging women to accept antenatal care.