Fijian government doubles funding for NCDs after September's UN High-Level Meeting

28 November 2011

FIJI TIMES - The Fijian government has doubled the funding in its 2012 budgetary allocation to fight non-communicable diseases in the country. Compared to the $400,000 (US$214, 972) given this year, the government has increased funding to $800,000 (US$ 429,945) for next year. Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Frank Bainimarama said the increase would comprise $400,000 for the NCD best buy initiative and $400,000 for NCD prevention.

Commodore Bainimarama said the government had also increased the duty charged on substances which negatively affects health as part of efforts to battle non-communicable diseases He said the duty on cigarettes and alcohol had been raised by 3 per cent after a similar increase in the 2011 Budget while the duty on palm oil and monosodium glutamate had been increased to 32 per cent as part of overall strategies to combat NCDs.

“One of the greatest threats to our society is NCDs. Eighty per cent of illness, disability and deaths are attributable to these diseases diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.” The burden of NCDs threatens to overwhelm our already overstretched health services as it absorbs substantial amounts of resources. With our limited resources, we must work smarter in devising low-cost and high-impact interventions. “Primary prevention is critical and the responsibility of all.”

Commodore Bainimarama urged people to eat healthy and exercise regularly, be cautious of saturated fats and salt in their diet, and eat more fruits and vegetables. “In fact, to support this, we will also reduce the duty on fruits and vegetables that cannot be grown in Fiji. “Every single one must work at this, including me. We want all Fijians to live long and healthy lives,” he said.