NCDs claim over 12, 000 lives in two years

May 9, 2022 5:30 am

[File Photo]

The Ministry of Health has made some alarming revelations on deaths relating to non-communicable diseases.

In 2020, 6, 600 people died due to NCD’s while last year the number decreased slightly as 5, 800 Fijians lost their lives due to this deadly disease.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this silent epidemic has been worsening for decades.

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Doctor Fong says while the NCD death rate decreased slightly last year, it isn’t normal for Fiji with a population of less than one million.

“Don’t be fooled by this slightly lower number. This was only the case because Fiji was in the middle of battling a global pandemic. While we technically don’t list them as NCD, NCDs were the contributing factor to many deaths caused by COVID-19.”

Dr. Fong says this situation is not normal and neither sustainable as Fiji is heading towards a breaking point.

“Lifestyle habits are killing us. The message is not to place blame or evoke shame among anyone. On the contrary, what we want is to raise an alarm bell. A heartfelt plea to every single Fijian to pause and reflect on your life right now.”

Doctor Fong stresses this is not a problem reserved for older adults, this crisis is also affecting young people in their 20s and 30s.

The PS says people do not have to be a doctor to see this pattern.

“NCDs are costly to our health and to our country. Sick people need medicines, hospital visits, and major surgeries like amputation. All of these places a serious burden on our society. We talking about millions and millions of dollars, on top of the suffering that we see everywhere.”

Dr Fong says in a country where 62 percent of our population are below the age of 35, this is worrying.

The Ministry of Health is expanding its free General Practitioners where Fijians can access health care including all blood tests related to diabetes.