During his opening speech the associate Minister of Health Patrick Arioka said the issue of NCDs continue to be the main cause of death in our country. “Many of these deaths can be prevented, our environment does play a big part.”
“Many Cook Islanders are facing this problem, this disease is everyone’s business, the message is clear, let’s tackle this.
“We must act promptly, this has to be addressed by all of us, we live in an environment that encourages this problem; we seem to be in the top rating in the world of these terrible disease, we need to tackle this problem, it doesn’t only start in the home,” said Arioka.
“If we fail to address our health we will become more overwhelmed, let’s be proactive.
“Eat healthy, plant healthy, make the time to prepare your meals for the week.”
Arioka said we now live in a fast-food society, where people head for the shops as it’s quicker and easier to access food.
He shared his personal experience of having lost two brothers to NCDs. “The sad part is not only are they a loss to our families but a loss to this country, their contribution to this country.”
The minister said the MOH and Ministry of Agriculture are working together to swiftly tackle NCDs. “It is timely now, this is a reality, we still need to act responsibly to ensure our younger ones are aware of the importance of their lifestyle and health.”.
“The MOH has the biggest budget in government and the largest role to play - to guide and care for our people.”
Secretary of Health, Dr Josephine Aumea Herman-Tepai’s delivery reminded the audience that we have known about NCDs for quite some time. “We have to work together and tackle this, in order to do this, it’s important we understand the environment we live in, what can we do to make things better.”
“Being affected by NCDs is not the end of the world, one can live with diabetes - you can live a long time … the health issue of obesity – watching how and what we eat, how much we consume,” says Dr Herman-Tepai.
“In terms of trying to address health issues things we can do are to ensure clean water is available for everyone, the awareness of the environmental impact of single use plastics, Operation Namu - clean up to reduce mosquito breeding grounds…
“Our life expectancy is 77 years on average, NCDs will not go away, we have the tools, the support, the government, the mana … today is ‘Lets tackle NCDs day’.”