Adventist Health leaders meet government representatives in Fiji

Ministry of Health officials with Dr Isimeli Tukana (centre), Dr Paul Wood and Dr Alipate Vakamocea (to left and right respectively of Dr Tukana).

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Representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recently met with government non-communicable diseases advisors to discuss the ongoing epidemic of lifestyle diseases in the Pacific.  

Trans Pacific Union Mission health director, Dr Paul Wood, and Fiji Mission health director, Dr Alipate Vakamocea, met with Dr Isimeli Tukana, who serves as non-communicable diseases advisor to the government of Fiji, to see how the Church and government can continue to tackle the huge problem of lifestyle diseases, which have reached epidemic levels in the Pacific.

During the meeting, attendees discussed the 10,000 Toes campaign along with one of the campaign’s key initiatives, the Live More Abundantly program.

The rollout of Live More Abundantly, which is a contextualised version of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), will commence in January 2019.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is partnering with Adventist Health in launching this program.

Dr Tukana offered his unreserved support for the program and for the development of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between ADRA and the Ministry of Health in Fiji. An MOU is currently being developed.

L to R: Dr Alipate Vakamocea (health director, Fiji Mission), Elisiva Na’ati (NCD advisor for SPC) and Dr Paul Wood (health director, TPUM)

Dr Wood and Dr Vakamocea also met with Elisiva Na’ati, non-communicable disease (NCD) advisor for the Pacific Community (SPC), to discuss the 10,000 Toes campaign and the formation of the South Pacific Society of Lifestyle Medicine (SPSLM). SPC is the major umbrella non-government organisation (NGO) in the South Pacific.

During the meeting the key components of the 10,000 Toes campaign strategy were discussed along with the envisaged role the SPSLM will play in training health professionals in lifestyle medicine.

Future partnership possibilities were explored with a collective desire agreed upon to continue working towards “stamping out diabetes in the South Pacific”. The SPSLM is a beneficiary of funds raised by the 10,000 Toes campaign.

In August 2019 the SPSLM will host a sitting of the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM) board certification exams for Pacific Island health professionals in Suva, Fiji.

Earlier this year, Seventh-day Adventist church leaders met with Dr Geoffrey Kenilorea, director of the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases for the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health.

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