How can pacific island countries reduce the crippling burden of non-communicable diseases?

Pacific island countries and territories (PICTs) are some of the most geographically isolated in the world.  Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancers, tobacco-related diseases and diabetes are rampant in PICTs.  These diseases are partly driven by loss of traditional diets, global trade in harmful products, and by a cluster of inter-related risk factors including tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, poor diet (excess intake of  saturated fat, salt and sugar), obesity and lack of physical activity.

Building on the World Bank’s NCD Roadmap Report, Pacific Economic and Health Ministers have agreed that non-communicable diseases are financially unsustainable and committed to implementing cost-effective policies.  Global and regional architecture to support these changes is coming into place.  But the challenges of implementation remain.

In a recent paper published in Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Roger Magnusson and David Patterson (Department of Strategy and Innovation, International Development Law Organisation) suggest some promising strategies for strengthening the governance and law reform processes that will be needed if PICTs are to reduce the crippling burden of NCDs on their health systems and economies.  In a previous paper, the authors reviewed the role of law and governance reform in the global response to NCDs and identified some priorities for development assistance for NCD-related law and governance reform.