In his intervention on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Prevention and Control Agenda at the WHO 73rd Western Pacific Regional Committee meeting this week, Health Minister Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana highlighted that around 6 Solomon Islanders die every day due to NCDs.
“Chair based on our clinical data, every day 1 to 2 Solomon Islanders die from heart attack, 1 from stroke, 1 from type 2 diabetes and 1 from cancer. Sum of the deaths is about 6, therefore, 6 Solomon Islanders die every day due to NCDs”, outlined Dr Togamana.
He explained that the rate of increase in the number of NCD cases is alarming and that Solomon Islands like many other Pacific Island Countries is undergoing the epidemiological transition with the double burden of NCDs and communicable diseases.
Having outlined the NCD status of Solomon Islands, Dr Togamana said that the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services and other government ministries are implementing the Multi-Sectorial National NCD Strategic Plan 2019-2023.
“Addressing NCD is a top priority of the new National Health Strategy 2022-2031, and, hence the NCD Strategic plan 2019-2023 will be reviewed and updated to align to the new National Health Strategy Plan 2022-2031 and the Role Delineation Policy, increasing focus of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) on frontline health worker practices”, said Dr. Togamana.
He also outlined that amongst these key priority areas, the churches and communities are key NCD partners and with the current MOU with the churches and faith-based organizations, the country is seeing NCD screening and NCD referrals at a community level. These are linked to the SOLPEN (Solomon Islands Package of Essential Non-communicable Disease interventions) that is being rolled out in all health facilities.
“On next steps, the Ministry of Health will undertake an evaluation and also develop a quality improvement approach toward making the program more effective”, said Dr. Togamana.
He also urged the committee on the need to re-strengthen and re-strategize efforts on NCD with similar level of commitment and response mechanisms and resources as with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On this note Solomon Islands therefore welcome and endorse the Regional Action Framework for Non Communicable Diseases, prevention and Control in the Western Pacific as a guide to member states where NCDs remain a threat to the respective countries”, concluded Dr Togama