by Nick Delgado
Guam - The US-affiliated Pacific Islands are in a regional state of emergency due to the onslaught of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease. This was revealed by participants at the 50th meeting of the Pacific Island Health Officers Association in the Republic of Palau. Officials report non-communicable diseases are the highest causes of deaths on Guam with about 61.4% being attributed to these types of diseases. During the conference participants noted if unchecked, non-communicable diseases will swamp national budgets, cut productivity and threaten the survival of Pacific people within just a few generations.
President and Minister of health of the Republic of Palau Dr. Stevenson Kuartei states, "It's bad now. But this is just the beginning. Our children are more obese and less active than in any other generation. We've had the earthquake, but the Tsunami has yet to hit. Where is the warning system? Why aren't the alarms going off?"
The purpose of the meeting was to help all partners develop and strengthen their individual and collective responses to the crisis. Officials drafted recommendations to improve coordination, increase resources, and address gaps among development and educational partners. The final product will be ratified at the next meeting in the fall.