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Location: Saqani Village, Cakaudrove. Report by: Joji Liga, Sports Development Manager
At the Sports Outreach Program conducted in Saqani, Cakaudrove this month, the Fiji National Sports Commission launched a new Wellness Initiative. The initiative saw the establishment of a pool of Fitness Leaders who take on the role of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Ambassadors in the community.
Twenty energetic individuals representing villages that attended the weeklong training were identified and trained separately through an Aerobics Instructor who instructed participants on how to conduct aerobics sessions at different levels. Aerobics exercises are a good way of making people active considering the benefits such as building stronger muscles, better balance and coordination, stronger bones, improved memory, reduced stress, more energy and improved mood to name a few. In addition it assists in weight loss or management, conditions your heart & lungs increasing the amount of oxygen that is available, helping your heart use oxygen more efficiently, increases your mobility, reduces your risk of developing hypertension and stroke and the list goes on.
I highlight a report that appeared in January, 2016 Fiji Times when Health Minister, Jone Usamate visited Kadavu. This report highlighted the impact of NCD in a rural setting.
“NON communicable diseases, once found most commonly in urban centres, have reared their ugly heads in Kadavu despite there being an abundance of fresh food and vegetables.
This was made known to Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate on the first day of his tour in Kadavu. According to statistics provided by Vunisea Hospital, last year the island recorded 288 cases of diabetes of which 107 were admitted, this is in addition to about 70 cases of high blood pressure and four cases of malnutrition. Speaking to villagers of Ravitaki and Daviqele, Mr Usamate said NCDs were never experienced in the islands because of the abundance of healthy food.
He said healthy living rested solely on every individual.
“It is your choice on how you live and what you eat, what you decide to think of, these are contributing factors to NCDs,” Mr Usamate said.
“Here, there should not be a problem as you are surrounded by and provided with the best available healthy food. The problem is we are not utilising them well.
“We allow ourselves to eat unhealthy food, live a lifestyle that is not ours and think of unnecessary things that have led to these lifestyle decisions.”
Sub-divisional medical officer at Vunisea Hospital Dr Ravaele Kelekele said it was unfortunate that this was happening
“For our cases of malnutrition, it is because parents do not provide proper diet for their children or they care less about what their children eat,” Dr Kelekele said.
The Ministry of Health, in its five-year strategic plan, hopes to reduce by 50 per cent the number of NCD-related cases and lifestyle-related deaths by 2020”
Non Communicable Diseases is no longer a disease of the urban settings but of anyone, anywhere regardless.
Our sedentary lifestyle combined with the changes in diet and lifestyle leaves us no choice but to start changing mindsets or else our statistics will continue to soar high at scary levels.
Incorporating this Wellness Focus through an “NCD Ambassador in the Community” concept is a positive step in this direction for the Fiji National Sports Commission. I hope this will change lifestyle and start moving people in the communities we visit in the direction of healthy living.
It is through such initiatives that we contribute to achieving the Ministry of Health’s target of reducing by 50% he number of NCD related cases and lifestyle related deaths by 2020.