Fono approves Concurrent Resolution regarding threat posed by NCDs
The Fono this week approved a House Concurrent Resolution which brings awareness to the significant public and economic threat that Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) pose to the people of American Samoa.
The goal is to promote a healthy environment and lifestyle to mitigate the consequences of NCDs in American Samoa, according to the measure, sponsored by Reps. Pulele’iite Liamatua Tufele, Taotasi Archie Soliai, Lemapu Talo, Faimealelei Anthony Allen, Larry Sanitoa and Maugaoali’i T. Anoa’i.
The resolution cites four main types of non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
“NCDs have emerged as the major public health challenge in American Samoa,” it says. “Globalization and urbanization from the western influence has made American Samoa’s communities susceptible to tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity.”
The resolution quotes the World Health Organization (WHO) survey in 2007 that nearly all American Samoan adults are overweight or obese (93.5%), close to half have diabetes (47.3%) and more than one-third have hypertension (34.2%). These are among the highest rates in the Western Pacific, and in the world.
According to the resolution, NCDs claim the most number of lives in American Samoa, three of every five deaths are caused by NCDs.
It also points out that the cost of NCDs to American Samoa “is significant”, adding that direct health care costs are compounded by the need for chronic health care services, including expensive overseas care.
“This exemplifies the rising demand for dialysis, which has reported a 37% increase in patients from 2001 to 2007, of which 80% to 90% of these patients require dialysis due to complications arising from diabetes,” it says.
The measure noted that the Health Department established a NCD Committee early in 2013, which is tasked to lead the development and finalization of American Samoa’s NCD Prevention and Control Strategic Plan.
“The plan is to coordinate with bilateral and international partners, the NCD coalition and other stakeholders in ensuring community engagement and buy-in during the planning process, and to oversee and monitor the implementation of the strategic plan,” it says.
The NCD committee, according to the resolution, is united under a vision: ‘Healthy American Samoa: heath and wellness across the lifespan for all American Samoans’. And the mission is to promote healthy environments and lifestyles to mitigate the preventable consequences of NCD risk factors and diseases with a goal to reduce the current and future preventable burden of NCDs in American Samoa.
The strategic plan for NCD prevention and control acknowledges and builds upon work that is currently in progress and is established upon these five Key Action areas: Environmental interventions; Promotion of healthy lifestyles; Appropriate clinical services; Advocacy and communication; and Monitoring and surveillance.
Additionally, the strategic plan is custom-designed for the local situation while being consistent with existing global and regional NCD action plans. “The objective is to ensure the widespread awareness and acceptance of the NCD strategic plan throughout all of American Samoa,” it says.
“American Samoa has already begun the process to halt the progression of NCDs and their adverse health and socioeconomic consequences in order to fuel a journey away from NCDs and towards a healthier future for American Samoa,” it says. “It is in the best interest of the people and Territory of American Samoa to heed the call to action.”
Through this approved non-binding resolution, the Fono “heeds the call to bring awareness to Non-communicable diseases and the adverse consequences to the people and Territory of American Samoa.”
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