May 11, 2011

Bainimarama fiddles, while Fiji's economy teeters

While the economy continues to falter, teeter and asphyxiates, Fiji's self-styled illegal and treasonous Bainimarama see's fit to tinker with the soft issues, and undertake a lead role on a campaign against "non communicable diseases" (NCD's) in New York -- where it is easier to hide from the hard issues that the people of Fiji need solutions for.

Don't get us wrong. The health of Fiji's citizens is critical but the key requirement here is money. And the military regime is fresh out of options on that front.
PM to lead NCD fight
writer : ILIESA TORA

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will be invited to lead Fiji’s Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) team to the NCD High Level meeting in New York in September.

He is also going to be approached to become the NCD Champion for Fiji.

Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma confirmed yesterday that the invitation for the high-level New York meeting will come from the United Nations and the World Health Organisation.

The New York meeting is a follow-up to the recent WHO NCD Summit in Russia, which Dr Sharma attended.

The Russia summit agreed that political leaders need to be involved in the fight against NCDs, with the New York meeting planned as the first ‘get together’ where leaders will be asked to lead the fight against NCDs in their respective countries.

"There needs to be a strong political and social will regionally to continue the fight against Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)," Dr Sharma said.

"We need to have leaders who can become NCD champions. We are going to approach the Prime Minister to be the Fiji champion, similar to the role played by the President for the HIV/AIDS programme."

Dr Sharma said there needed to be a united campaign against NCDs. Figures recorded by the Ministry showed the battle cannot be won without a united front.

Dr Sharma said in Fiji, just under 20 per cent of the population were patients of hypertension.

"Sixteen per cent of the population are diabetic and do not care for themselves. Only 50 per cent know of their conditions and 10 per cent are in adequate control.

"Despite, the provision of medication, advice on active lifestyles with diet, exercise and advice on reduction of alcohol, tobacco, national statistics show that we are not progressing. Individuals continue to deny that they are suffering from diabetes and resort to all sorts of traditional measures without results.

"Too many patients continue to fool health care providers by turning up to clinics and lying about their control of sugar. Some alter their records,” he said. "Point taken that the clinics are large and busy. Patients want universal cover and free medication."

He said kidney end stage disease is only cared for by dialysis and transplants. Dialysis in Fiji has been provided by the Kidney Foundation of Fiji (KFOF). The Government grants to KFOF are intended for use on the poor patients for a three-month period with a view to progressing them to renal transplant if they can afford it overseas.

He said people should eat in moderation, locally-grown food low in fats and oils.

"Exercise regularly, plant your own vegetables, root crops and fruit in your backyard gardens. Reduce your grog, alcohol intake and stop smoking tobacco products," he said.

"As a nation we're becoming obese, physically unhealthy and developing hypertension and diabetes mellitus. The complications of these diseases lead us to end up with kidney and heart diseases. We are dying prematurely," Dr Sharma said.

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