The Permanent Secretary for Health says the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases in Fiji can burden the health system more than the COVID virus ever could.
Doctor James Fong today called for a national reset and a new focus on what is most deadly and that is the epidemic of NCDs in Fiji.
He adds the pandemic has created an opportunity to identify and treat those with NCDs.
Dr Fong says people need to keep talking about these diseases, the burden they place on society and what can be done to address this issue.
“Because this is a societal problem that affects every community in Fiji, and saving lives depends on the actions from all of us. NCD’s are deadly on their own, but COVID-19 can turn them into more efficient killers.”
Dr Fong says with widespread transmission of COVID-19, NCD’s and other comorbidities complicate the Health Ministry’s ability to precisely determine the causes of death.
“It may be that someone died with COVID but not from it. But because most of the deaths have occurred at home, it has become very difficult for us to be sure the extent to which NCD’s have contributed to the deaths and the extent to which COVID-19 contributed to the death.”
Five thousand, seven hundred Fijians have died due to non-communicable diseases in 2020.
Doctor Fong says in a year filled with headlines of COVID-19, over 5,000 lives ended too soon because of silent killers like diabetes, stroke, heart disease and others.