Solomon Islands has one of the highest rates of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the Pacific region.

Recent research conducted by Pacific Possible states that NCD’s are now the leading cause of death in Solomon Islands – an estimated 60 percent of deaths in the Solomon Islands is caused by NCD’s.

The four main types of NCDs include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.

Such research indicates that a large segment of our population is very vulnerable should there be an outbreak of COVID-19. Vaccination rates are currently low, and government, with the support of donor partners, are working hard to change that.

More vaccines are on their way and relevant health agencies are now going out to communities, making the vaccine more accessible.

In trying to manage a possible COVID-19 outbreak, we already have a crisis that has not been managed – NCD’s are not transmittable but it is still killing our people.

This comes back to people’s choices – we all know the source of NCDs, it is bad eating habits and lifestyle. Yet, the rates are still rising.

Non-communicable diseases are, as the name implies, not transmissible, it is entirely up to the individual to save him or herself from the disease simply by changing lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, people choose to ignore early warning signs, leading to fatal outcomes.

Similarly, to protect oneself from COVID-19, it is really up to the individual – take the jab and you protect yourself and your loved ones, don’t take the jab and you put others at risk. Yet vaccination rates are low, people have a chance to save themselves, we know that the virus kills, yet we choose to watch and wait.

We must change our attitude if we are to protect ourselves from this virus – otherwise, like the NCD crises, we will loose the fight before it even starts by not vaccinating.