Pacific health chiefs meet in Rarotonga

Pacific health ministers attending a meeting in Rarotonga today will be encouraged to consider non communicable diseases as more than just a health issue.

The World Health Organisation says the biennial meeting is an opportunity to develop a unified view of NCDs as a development priority rather than a health concern.

The WHO said Pacific Island countries are struggling to cope with NCDs, including childhood obesity and diabetes, which it says are a burden on health systems and Pacific economies.

It said the causes of NCDs are diverse, therefore, the solutions must be multi-sectoral.

Developing the Pacific's health workforce will also be brought to the attention of ministers.

The WHO said health workers around the world are experiencing more stress in reaction to ageing populations and new diseases, while escalating conflicts and violence are challenges to which they must be prepared to respond.

It said strengthening health information systems had already been recognised by ministers as a priority, and the importance of reliable and timely health, mortality, and cause of death data would be discussed.



Photo: Supplied