The Seventh-day Adventist Church is assisting to devise a strategy for the Solomon Islands government to tackle the huge burden of diabetes that is sweeping the country.
For the Church, this represents an unprecedented level of influence on Solomon Islands government policy, according to South Pacific Division (SPD) health director Dr Chester Kuma.
It follows a visit to the Church’s SPD offices recently by Dr Geoffrey Kenilorea, director of the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases for the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health.
Dr Kenilorea was on a fact-finding visit to see what the Adventist Church is doing in the area of lifestyle medicine, including the Comprehensive Health Strategy, 10,000 Toes campaign and CHIP.
Dr Kenilorea also visited Sanitarium, where he discussed healthy food alternatives with CEO Kevin Jackson, and the Australasian Research Institute, where CEO Dr Ross Grant spoke about the relationship between diet and chronic disease.
Dr Kuma will share the Church’s health strategy with the Solomon Islands Cabinet next month during a special meeting organised by Dr Kenilorea. The meeting will also look at opportunities for future partnerships and collaboration between the Church and the government.
“The big thing I see here is that we are building relationships and the assistance that we can provide is creating a powerful entering wedge in a country like Solomon Islands,” Dr Kuma said. “It’s targeting the top leadership of the nation.
“We’ve never had that opportunity in the past. But it’s now opening up to us and we are so excited about it.
“The aim is to influence the governments right across the Pacific and I think we are making big, bold advances in that area.”