It was with great enthusiasm and words of wisdom that the Prime Minister of Tonga Hon. Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, officially launched the National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2015-2020 on Wednesday 24 February 2016.
The National Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Strategy is the result of almost a year of multiple sectorial and stakeholder consultations, including international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The NCD Strategy is a multiyear strategy funded by the Governments of Tonga and Australia, and other donor partners. The launch included the signing of a five year, A$2.1 million dollar (T$3.2 million) agreement, between Tonga Health and the Government of Australia to support the implementation of Tonga’s National NCD Strategy 2015 – 2020. Australia’s support is part of its A$10 million (T$15.3 million) bilateral support to Tonga’s health sector through the Tonga Health Systems Support Program Phase 2 (THSSP 2).
TongaHealth as the national coordinating body and Secretariat for NCD activities in Tonga, is responsible for ensuring a coordinated and integrated approach in the implementation of the National NCD strategy. Its role will include harmonizing funding streams for NCD prevention, strengthening communication and collaboration among implementing partners and strengthening the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of progress. The introduction of an NCD Secretariat is an innovative first for the Pacific.
As the third phase of Tonga’s National NCD Strategy, this strategy builds on the expertise and knowledge of implementing partners, and global and regional guidelines. It focuses on good practice and feasible actions that address the whole population with a clear emphasis on young people and a healthy start to life.
The launch was attended by Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, the Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency Andrew Ford, the New Zealand High Commissioner, Her Excellency Sarah Walsh, members of the National Non-Communicable Diseases Committee (NNCDC), and high level Government officials and representatives of implementing partners.
This launch will be televised today, Thursday, 25 February 2016 at 7:30pm on TV Tonga1 and then a repeat on Saturday 27 February 2016 at 7pm. For more information please visit www.tongahealth.org.to.