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How do we reverse the crisis

OUR region is in crisis mode – a noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) crisis to be exact. Regional data shows that about 75 per cent of all adult deaths are due to NCDs, and persons who are considered economically active, are becoming mere statistics. Pacific leaders have called for “an urgent and comprehensive response” to effectively address this epidemic but what is really needed is a response to the following question: ‘What meaningful contribution can women play in effectively addressing this NCDs crisis?’ Is there a link between NCDs and women?

Women’s bodies experience NCDs differently than men, but this is also impacted by gendered social, economic and political conditions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCDs, particularly cardiovascular diseases and cancers are the leading killers amongst older women . Despite a country’s level of economic development, no country is immune to the detrimental effects of NCDs on its population.

Globally, NCDs are the leading cause of death in women causing 18 million deaths per year . The inextricable link between health and development issues cannot be denied as NCDs directly or indirectly impact women and their families in developing countries, notably in their most productive years. The already excessive costs on our fragile healthcare system, along with lost productivity in the workforce, continue to rise.

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