The Ministry of Health has set up a Health Policy Technical Support Group to monitor health correlated issues and to initiate policies through a multi stakeholders approach.
In addressing the health challenges faced by Fijians, the Ministry of Health is mandated by the Pillar 10 of the People’s Charter for Change and the Road Map to Democracy and Sustainable Socio-economic Development (RDSSED) to set up a Health Commission.
“The Health Policy Technical Support Group (HPTSG) replaces the Health Commission as the instrument for a “whole of society approach” to addressing health issues and challenges,” Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said.
“The HPTSG provides the instrumentation and avenue towards a healthier, equitable and holistic approach to a healthier nation through multi and key stakeholder representation.”
The HPTSG consist of 10 members from the following institutions: WHO, USP, Interfaith Fiji, Consumer Council, Fiji Cancer Society of Fiji, Medical & Dental Secretariat, Westpac, Rotary Club, YWCA and Fiji Red Cross.
“Some of the key objectives of the group is to provide a consultation forum for prioritizing Wellness in our communities, provisioning for a wider medium for discussion on health issues, guiding evidence based policy decisions, providing whole of society approach to decisions on state health care and private health care which is in the public interest, provisioning holistic solutions to the double burden of diseases in Fiji, and to tackle the social determinants of health to yield better quality of life,” Dr Sharma said.
He said the group also assists in providing Monitoring and Evaluation on the progress of reforms in the areas of health, MDG commitments, national and international health commitments.
The group met last Thursday on the theme NCD’s and Wellness. The issues of premature deaths and Fiji’s low life expectancy were discussed.
“The largest NCD study called the Global Burden of Disease Study (2010) that premature death and years of life lost to premature deaths were due to ischaemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and cerebrovascular disease. The disability adjusted years (DALYs) from the same study revealed the top diseases were ischaemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and lower respiratory infections,” he said.
Mr Jalal-ud Dean from Interfaith also presented on the issue of increased imports of palm oils and its impact on NCDs in Fiji and discussions also included the issue of incorrect labeling of food products. The HPTSG will be meeting regularly todiscuss issues affecting the delivery of Health care services in Fiji.