President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said Palau is championing the fight against non-communicable disease (NCD) as he takes part in the third United Nations High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases, which kicks off Sept. 27 in New York.

In a statement last week, Remengesau said that at the “start of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Republic of Palau partners with NCD Alliance to fight   NCD.

President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. champions the fight against NCDs. In January, the Republic of Palau declared 2018, the Year of Good Health.

“The population around the world is dying because of hunger and poverty, but here in our part of the world, we are dying of overeating and bad diet, a lot of this has to do with imported food. This is one of the reasons why I proclaimed 2018 as Year of Good Health,” Remengessau stated.

In declaring the Year of Good Health, Remengesau urged the government, civil society and private sector to join in efforts in promoting healthy living , active lifestyle and strong community engagement for a better health.

According to a report released by the World Bank last year, NCDs are now the leading cause of death in most countries in the Pacific, ranging from an estimated 60 percent of deaths in the Solomon Islands to 80 percent of deaths in Fiji due to the four leading NCDs alone.

In Palau, a recent NCD and Risk Factor Surveillance report stated that NCDs are also the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands(USAPIs) (American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern

Mariana Islands [CNMI], Federated States of Micronesia [FSM], Palau, and Republic of Marshall Islands [RMI]).

The Palau report said that the NCDs of concern in the USAPIs include diabetes,

heart disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease   and that the   five leading risk factors attributable to NCDs globally include unhealthy diets insufficient physical activity, excessive consumption of alcohol, obesity, and tobacco use

In the Pacific Islands, betel nut chewing with or without tobacco is also identified as a significant health problem.

The high-level UN meeting will be the first time Heads of State and Government will review NCDs within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

World leaders are expected to make commitments in reducing suffering and death due to NCDs. (Bernadette Carreon)