30 Oct 2012

New SPC Director of Public Health eyes successful programmes in other regions

4:16 pm on 30 October 2012

The former chief executive of New Zealand's Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs has been appointed the Director of Public Health at the Secretariat of the Pacific Commmunity.

Dr Colin Tuikuitonga, a medical doctor, who has also served as New Zealand's Director of Public Health, says he wanted to contribute to the region in an area that is his first love.

The Pacific region faces enormous issues concerning non communicable diseases and Dr Tukuitonga says one of the first things he would look to do is implement programmes that have already been proven to work in other regions.

"For example raising tax on tobacco does indeed lead to a reduction in consumption. Reduction in salt intake reduces the risk of stroke. So there are some things that we know work and I would have thought that that's where we might want to put more effort and resource in the first instance, particularly if we recognise that the capability in many of the small islands is quite limited."