1 Jul 2011

Political support essential to fight NCD, says Fiji minister

6:58 pm on 1 July 2011

Fiji's Health Minister says support from political leaders is essential to turn around the Pacific health problems caused by lifestyle diseases.

Dr Neil Sharma says financial resources are limited as services try to manage high amputation rates, blindness and cardiovascular disease related to widespread diabetes.

He says trying to treat the complications of lifestyle diseases is difficult but ministers cannot give up.

He says he's hoping for support from the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum and United Nations meetings.

"Health Ministers are well placed in their governments to have the ears of their Prime Ministers and leaders. I'm hoping that all of us will go back and impart the communique to the Pacific Forum and to New York. We would be able to provide enthusiasm to our leaders to be able to address the issues and get their total commitment to the social factors that give rise to NCDs."

Dr Neil Sharma says despite the health crisis from non communicable diseases he is optimistic the quality of life of people in the Pacific can be improved by countries acting collectively.

He says mental health, medical staffing shortages, information technology and social influences on health are also on the agenda for further action at the Pacific Islands Forum.