While at their retreat in Auckland last week, Solomon Islands together with other Forum Leaders have declared that the 'Pacific is in a Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) crisis'.

This was in response to a paper Solomon Islands circulated, calling Forum Leaders to include in their Communiqué a 'Statement on Non-Communicable Diseases', of which Forum leaders agreed to.

"At a Health Ministers' meeting held in Honiara on 30 June 2011, all our Ministers agreed NCD's prevalence in the region has reached epidemic proportions and would bear heavily on the human, social and economic situations of Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries,"Prime Minister Danny Philip told his colleague Leaders when introducing the paper.

Leaders were particularly concerned that if allowed to continue unabated, NCDs has the potential to undermine labor supply, productivity, investment and education, four of the main factors driving economic growth with potentially devastating consequences, especially in Pacific Island countries and territories and the urgency to address it.

"We are doing everything we could possibly do in stemming the tide of NCDs, through our NCD division in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. And thanks to the support of SPC and the World Bank, we are actively carrying out awareness programmes advocating healthy life-style measures to minimize NCD occurrence. But this requires a holistic approach if it is to succeed." Mr. Philip pointed out.

Leaders agreed that most of the interventions required to control NCDs exist outside of the health sector and called for a 'whole of government and whole of society' response to the crisis.

They emphasized the importance of acting quickly and decisively and called on governments, private sector, civil society, regional and international organizations and development partners to work together to address this rapidly unfolding crisis.

Prime Minister Danny Philip was attending the 42nd Forum Leaders' meeting held in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

The Prime Minister and his delegation arrived in the country on Monday afternoon.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit