Fiji plans grassroots habits education to help target NCDs, says Fong

Fiji Health Secretary Dr James Fong
Fiji Health Secretary Dr James Fong ... "We’re taking this campaign to the grassroots, conducting home visits to conduct check-ups." Image: Rama/Fiji Times

By Luke Rawalai in Suva

Changing daily habits will be the difficult issue to address when creating awareness in Fiji against non-communicable disease (NCDs), says Health Secretary Dr James Fong.

Dr Fong said it required patience, empathy and resolve, but it was worth it for people to help loved ones and themselves.

He said targeting NCDs-related care and addressing the root causes of these diseases was vital to Fiji’s response to covid-19’s inevitable progression towards becoming endemic.

“The three divisional hospitals team also has a roving team that provides mobile support for patients,” he said.

“The wellness team has engaged institutions and organisations through the virtual modes and has run sessions on wellness and NCDs for the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Fiji Sports Commission, youth leaders and ambassadors to empower them as champions in their communities.

“The wellness unit has worked with the Fiji Sports Commission, Ministry of Youth and Sports and WHO (World Health Organisation) to develop videos for keeping physically active in pandemic and lockdowns.”

Dr Fong said that to ensure their staff were catered for as well, they were working with WHO to provide support for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for frontliners.

“Through the My Kana app and social media platforms we’re also encouraging an uptake of the Ministry of Agriculture “Grow From Home” gardening initiative and eating correctly-portioned meals.

“Division by division we’re taking this campaign to the grassroots, conducting home visits to conduct check-ups, operating local clinics that offer NCDs-related care, building capacity among healthcare staff through virtual training sessions, and informing people of our tele-health system.”

Luke Rawalai is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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