Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare has acknowledge that political leadership is key to winning the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Speaking at a high-level NCD roundtable meeting at the Heritage Park hotel the Prime Minister stated, “I and my government are committed to lead the fight to halt and reverse the NCD crises – the single largest killer of our people today.”

“It is my view, that Non-Communicable Diseases is currently the most urgent, and most serious development challenge for our country,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare stated that while Climate Change is muted as the most serious development challenge facing all Pacific Countries, addressing NCDs is more urgent, and is equally important “because it is killing thousands of people in Pacific Island countries every year, in numbers that far outweigh those caused by Climate change.”

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has reached epidemic levels globally. By 2030, NCDs are projected to cause nearly five times as many deaths as communicable diseases worldwide. This is an extremely worrying trend.

In Solomon Islands, NCDs is responsible for at least 7 out of every 10 deaths in the country and is increasing. It has the potential to undermine our country’s long-term social and economic development aspirations.

Further citing from statistical data, Prime Minister Sogavare stated: “From the economic perspective, NCDs are the leading driver of health sector expenditures in most Pacific countries.”

“This is the primary reason I am calling for a Roadmap to halt and reverse the NCD Crises in our country right now. If we can achieve this, our people will be healthier, and our health care costs will be more manageable, and we will be able to redistribute scare resources to other priorities,” Prime Minister Sogavare reiterated.

He further stressed the need to develop and implement a well-coordinated ‘whole of government and a whole of society’ Roadmap to halt and reverse the NCD crises.

“The Roadmap needs to clearly define the roles of each stakeholder, the interventions they are responsible for, the budgets that need to be provided in their respective ministries, agencies or organisations and the indicators to measure progress.

Taken together all these interventions comprise the whole of society approach to combat NCDs,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare further stated that the Roadmap also needs to be supported by coordination and performance framework that focusses attention on each of the four risk factors with membership drawn from inside and outside of government to ensure progress on interventions on each risk factor are monitored and reported against indicators regularly.

“The NCD crises is happening under our watch. We can slow it down. We can halt it. We can reverse it.

We must leave behind a legacy we can be proud of. A legacy that today’s generation of leaders, can be attributed the honour of having launched the fight to halt and reverse the NCD epidemic in Solomon Islands,” he concluded.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Health and Medical Services, other senior government officials and representatives from the Private Sector, Churches, Civil Society and Non-government organisations, UN Agencies, Development partners and the media.

Source: OPMC media