Disease studies should stop gathering dust and be put to use says Commerce Ministry CEO

    UNDP studies on non communicable diseases in the Pacific should be put to some practical use according to a senior Tongan official.

    Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Innovation, Trade and Labour, Edgar Cocker, said it was time the studies stopped gathering dust.

    Cocker said the studies conducted by the UNDP and various international institutions seemed to be  consultancy driven.

    “I want these studies to stop collecting dust,” Cocker said.

    “We need to set up a national and regional programme that has clear mandates and responsibilities.”

    He said the Fiji-based Secretariat of the Pacific Community should take responsibility for the project.

    The Pacific has some of the highest NCD rates with cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers accounting for more than 80 percent of deaths.

    Earlier this year Tonga’s Minister of Health, Dr Saia Piukala, was appointed to an independent global commission on non-communicable diseases.

    Dr Piukala said Tonga had taken some positive steps to reduce the burden of NCDs, but much more needed to be done.

    Statistics also showed that approximately one in five Tongans has diabetes.

    Tonga’s own Sustainable Development Goals call for a one-third reduction in NCDs by 2030.

    Almost every Tongan adult is at medium or high risk of developing a non-communicable disease.

    The kingdom is one of the most at-risk populations in the world, with diabetes and heart disease a serious threat.

    Many young Tongans are overweight, levels of smoking continue to be high and a majority of young people have tried alcohol by age 14.

    The main points

    • UNDP studies on non communicable diseases in the Pacific should be put to some practical use according to a senior Tongan official.
    • Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Innovation, Trade and Labour, Edgar Cocker, said it was time the studies stopped gathering dust.

    For more information

    Tonga’s health minister appointed to global NCD commission

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