NON Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is a huge health cost to the government and poses the single biggest threat to the future development aspirations of our people and country.
That’s according to Prime Minister Rick Hou, when delivering his statement at the High level Roundtable Meeting on the NCD Policy Roadmap, at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara, Monday.
“NCDs are killing more people in Solomon Islands today than all these causes put together, and still NCD has not been accorded the attention and priority it deserves,” Mr Hou said.
“This is the reason I announced my government’s commitment at the international stage, in my statement at the Third High Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 27th September 2018,” he added.
“And this is why we must we accord higher priority to combating NCDs?
“Because up to 70% of all deaths in the country today are due to NCDs such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.”
Mr Hou said NCDs not only rob our country of its intellectual capacity (due to NCD mortality).
“They also undermine the quality of performance of our country’s economic engine through declining labour force performance resulting from NCD-related disabilities.
“As already noted NCDs result in higher unemployment rates, as relatives leave work to care for their loved ones.
“In some instances, children are leaving school early to care for their parents who suffer from NCDs.
“This is becoming a serious source for the rise in the level of poverty in Solomon Islands,” Mr Hou told the gathering.
He said if we do not act decisively to halt, and ultimately reverse the current NCD epidemic, it has the potential to wipe out the cream of this country’s working population even before the impact of issues such as climate change – become significant threats to lives.
By ANDREW FANASIA