LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has urged the government to allocate more finance and resources to address the Non Communicable Disease (NCD) Crisis in the country.
Hon Wale said recent data from the National Health Strategic Plan 2022-2031 that 70% of deaths are attributed to NCD is ‘alarming’.
The Opposition Leader said government should lead the fight against NCD with utmost priority.
He said more funding should be allocated to preventive health care and not just clinical care.
“The onus is on the government to take the lead. This is a health crisis that needs strategic planning from all relevant authorities, agencies, organisations, communities and individuals. This fight should be a whole of government and whole of society approach,” he said.
Hon Wale said it is time NCDs are taught in schools and even churches more seriously with a more collaborative approach, with the ministry of health, education and agriculture sector taking the lead.
“I am truly concerned from reports in the National Health Strategic Plan 2022-2031 launched in Honiara recently that 90% of admissions at the NRH surgical ward are diabetic patients,” he said.
As part of this fight, Hon Wale also urged the government to increase tobacco licences, regulate sugar and sweet beverages including alcohol.
He said any strategic plan should also aim to lessen the major variable risk factors, such as physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, tobacco use and unhealthy diets.
Hon Wale adds food security; quality and cost of healthy food must also be central to any government policy in the fight against NCD.
The Opposition Leader said government planning must also ensure that land is also reserved for recreational use in urban areas to encourage physical exercise.
“The launching of the NHSP 2022-2031 will be of no use if it is treated us many other government plan and policies that are left to collect dust at the shelves. In fact, it is clear from the past years that there has been neglect by the past and current leadership in government in allocating resources and finance to seriously try to manage this crisis,” Hon Wale said.
The Opposition Leader said in terms of policy and legislation, there is no specific legislation for NCD but only other legislations relevant to NCD such as the Tobacco control act and regulations and mental treatment act.
However, he said to date there have been no reviews undertaken on these legislations which also leads to the lack of effective implementation.
He said in the last two years, more funding and focus has been diverted towards COVID-19.
Hon Wale said that is one of the reasons why NCD related cases have increased in an alarming rate compared to past years.
“The government must act now before it’s too late,” he said.