NCDs cost Fijian economy $591.41m – Dr Nand

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Participants at the NCDs workshop at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA

The Health Ministry’s head of wellness, Dr Devina Nand, says the total cost of NCDs, both indirect and direct, to the national economy is $591.41 million.

Dr Nand made the statement in the Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Management (CRAM)/ Package of Essential NonCommunicable (PEN) Operational Guidelines for Fiji’s Primary Health Care Facilities, which was launched on Friday.

She said NCDs represent 40 per cent of all health expenditure which amounted to $192.23m out of a total health expenditure of $478.36m.

“The direct cost burden of NCDs is greater than the direct cost burden of infectious diseases combined with reproductive health and malnutrition,” Dr Nand said.

“Due to the chronicity of the disease and the burden we have in our country, there is expectation that patients living with NCDs will continue to utilise key NCD-related services with repeated and multiple visitations over their lifetime.

“A standardised and quality-based approach is required to prevent and halt the consequences such as disability and premature death.”

Dr Nand said the aim of the guideline is to provide essential NCD services to alleviate the burden of NCDs and their complications.

“The Fiji CRAM will help to improve the coverage of appropriate, ethical, quality and standardised service for people living with NCDs.

“It harnesses an integrated approach for effective interventions in low-resource settings, allowing efficient use of limited resources.”

Dr Nand added the approach reduces healthcare costs to the system by ensuring less money is spent on treating complications of NCDs.

The Fiji CRAM is an adaptation of the World Health Organization (WHO) PEN contextualised to the Fiji setting.