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Youth raise awareness on Non-communicable Diseases workshop in Noumea

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Youth raise awareness on Non-communicable Diseases

23 Aug 2017 | Noumea

Youth from Pacific Island countries and territories have gathered in Noumea, New Caledonia this week for a five-day media and communications training on Noncommunicable Diseases (NDCs). The training organized by the Pacific Community (SPC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji with funding support from the Fond Pacific (France), developed the competence of youth groups from the Pacific ranging from 15-25 years old.

Young people from Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, French Polynesia and New Caledonia were selected through a competitive process requiring them to submit film project ideas about NCDs. This week’s workshop provided an opportunity for each group to refine their stories ideas and provide some guidance on promotion and marketing.

Once competed, each film will be disseminated though social media and used as advocacy and health promotion material in the region.

A group of public health and media professionals will be following and supporting each group throughout the life of the project.

While the groups came from across the Pacific, they were united in their passion for tackling the challenge of NDC’s.

According to Jaimeem Kenni from Vanuatu, “People in general do not consider Noncommunicable Diseases a youth issue, that’s a mistake! We are all affected one way or another. We need to be part of the solution.”

Dr Paula Vivili,‎ Director of Public Health Division at SPC highlighted the importance of bringing a spotlight to NCDs and noted the relevance and the value of having this message delivered by the regions youth: “The fact is that risk factors now develop at a younger age and increasingly diseases like diabetes and even heart diseases affect young people in this region. It is essential to engage youth in the response and not just as an audience of prevention messages but as active participants and partners of that prevention.”

Reflecting on the complexity of NCDs, Ferdinand Strobel, the Health and Development Adviser for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, reiterated the importance of a consolidated approach to combatting one of the region’s most leading causes of death.

“NCDs are driven by the consumption of unhealthy products like tobacco, alcohol and junk food which are heavily promoted to the younger generation”, said Strobel.

“The rise of NCDs -just like climate change- results form an unsustainable development pathway. He added, “We need to change that, it is everyone’s business to get involved and the time is now because the risk factors of today are the diseases of tomorrow.”

‎Non-communicable Diseases constitute the leading cause of premature death and pose a formidable development challenge for the 21st century.

The challenge is particularly relevant in the Pacific region, which suffers from some of the highest NDC rates in the world.

For more information, or interviews please contact:


Peter Foster, Communications Director, Pacific Community,Tel: (+679) 337 9451, Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate, Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Tel: (679) 3227 552, E:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 September 2017 10:38  

Newsflash

Monday 17 June 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) –  The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), with Geoscience Australia, has developed a computer model to help the Government of Tonga see what the impact of a tsunami would be on Tongatapu. Part of an AusAID funded project, the model makes use of high resolution data, the collection of which was made possible by Australia, the European Union, and the New Zealand Ocean Sciences Grant.

The new Tsunami Inundation Model shows that an 8.7 magnitude earthquake in the Tonga Trench would create a wave that would hit the eastern coast of Tongatapu within ten to twenty minutes, inundating most of Nuku’alofa.  Leveni ‘Aho, Director of Tonga’s National Disaster Management Office, says the new computer model has enabled the Government of Tonga to consider how the public would need to respond in a range of possible scenarios.

‘Nuku’alofa has, perhaps, the biggest urban population in the Pacific living in a very low-lying area. We can talk about Japan’s earthquakes but if we can present something that shows what is going to happen to us here at home, the message is much more effective.  For us, it’s an excellent opportunity to help communities to be aware of what could possibly come and what they will need to do if a significant event occurs,’ he says.

After the model was presented to the cabinet and the National Emergency Management Committee, the Hon. Prime Minister Lord Tuʻivakanō indicated that the government would need support to construct access ways to some parts of Nuku’alofa so that the local community can quickly get to safe areas.

Mr ‘Aho says the model is also helping the Government of Tonga to design emergency response measures and improve long-term urban planning for Nuku’alofa and its surrounding villages.‘The tsunami computer model given by SPC has provided the government with a wonderful tool to help us really understand the risks of different scenarios and to prepare in the best ways we can,’ he says.

Mosese Sikivou, Deputy Director of SPC’s Disaster Reduction Programme, says this project is part of SPC’s assistance to Tonga in connection with its Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management, approved by Cabinet in July 2010. The work to develop the model is part of an integrated approach that SPC and other partners are taking right across the Pacific to try and maximise scarce resources and minimise duplication of effort and potential conflict in policy development.