Letters to the Editor – Thursday, September 29, 2022

Aida Hoyte with daughter Jessica Brown at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital in Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED

A heartfelt present for Jessica

It is shocking that every two seconds one person under the age of 70 loses his or her life to non-communicable diseases!

The World Health Organization, in a report titled Invisible numbers: The true extent of noncommunicable diseases and what to do about them stated major risk factors.

These included tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and air pollution which it insists could prevent or delay significant ill health and the large number of deaths from NCDs.

The report stated NCDs a­ffected all countries and regions, but the largest burden was on low and middle-income countries, accounting for 86 per cent of premature deaths.

“The COVID-19 pandemic took an especially heavy toll on people living with NCDs, highlighting how these diseases undermine the very foundations of good health,” the report stated.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that protecting and promoting health is not only the domain of health ministers. In the same way as COVID-19, NCDs endanger lives, livelihoods and global development, which means that preventing and managing these diseases requires a concerted eff­ort, with a whole-of-government, whole-of-society response across countries and sectors.”

The chief NCDs, it noted, were cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases – along with mental health, causing nearly three-quarters of deaths in the world.

NCDs account for about 84 per cent of all deaths in Fiji.

The report also stated the chance of dying from NCDs was higher for those living in lower-income countries.

WHO said its new data portal showed there were 6038 total deaths caused by NCDs in Fiji and the probability of premature mortality from NCDs stood at 38 per cent.

The tragedy was that NCDs were often preventable, it pointed out, and millions of people could avoid years of poor health and live longer, healthier, happier lives within their families and communities.

“Most deaths from NCDs could be delayed or even prevented by eliminating risks to health,” the WHO report stated.

“These lead to biological risk factors — raised blood pressure (hypertension), overweight and obesity, raised blood glucose and raised cholesterol.”

Now that we are aware of the shocking results, we should be motivated to do the right thing.

That should mean factoring in a healthy diet, and exercising for a few minutes daily.

Our challenge though is to take that first step to a healthy and motivated lifestyle.

Now that’s going to be good for us individually.

Again, it is scary thinking about the fact that every two seconds one person under the age of 70 dies from NCDs!

That is serious business!

In fact it is in our best interest that we are aware, and actually doing something about it!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa

Smoking plague

FOR years, Fijian health authorities have aggressively been bidding to tackle cigarette smoking.

I believe their vigorous efforts have “gone up in smoke” as there has been an evident surge in tobacco abuse over the recent years, predominantly in youths.

As I have echoed earlier via this column, the only effective way to curb and prevent Fijians from picking up this morbid and addictive practice is to immediately shut down that “cancer stick” factory.

Nip it in the “butt”.

I believe the recent launch of the tobacco cessation services across the country is just a waste of time and financial resources (FT 28/09) to contain this plague.

And has anyone noticed the increasing number of “roll” sellers within the Lautoka market vicinity?

Pssst, brass jibi?



World Heart Day

WORLD Heart Day is a campaign established to spread awareness about the health of the heart among common people all over the world.

This initiative is to inform people to take care of their heart and health.

Heart is on the left but make the decision right. It is celebrated annually all over the world on September 29.

A huge percentage of people in the society is suffering from heart diseases such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, et cetera.

Heart problems are the leading cause of deaths in the Pacific and other parts of the world.

I believe heart-related problems and deaths can be solved by active involvement of the common public in World Heart Day campaigns.

Various governmental and private organisations including NGOs all around the world are working to spread awareness on heart-related sicknesses.

The main aim of World Heart Day is to improve global heart health by encouraging people on lifestyle changes and to gain knowledge about ways to be good to the heart.

The Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital is transforming to give life to children and parents.

As the world struggles to fight COVID-19, we’ve never been more aware of the importance of our and our loved one’s health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s number one killer, resulting in deaths in both children and adults.

It has many causes; from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to air pollution, and less common conditions such as chagas disease and cardiac amyloidosis I live with this quote:

“Put a stop to it before it stops you”.

So, get involved, eat your fruits and vegies and get outside, both you and your heart will feel the benefits.

Happy heart, happy life.

NEELZ SINGH, Nelson, New Zealand

Drama queen

LOOKS like the “Drama Queen” is back to her old tricks.

She is on the front pages for all the wrong reasons.

The People’s Alliance (PA) leadership seems to have been successful in holding her on a leash for a few months but now she seems to have wriggled out and is back to being out of control.

Everything she says is out of context and does not make sense at all.

She seems to think the electoral laws do not apply to her.

Despair and desperation in motion as far as I can see.

I believe there is trouble brewing within PA and an impending self-immolation.

And all the prayers and fasting will not help.

Just wait and watch how fast things go pear shaped.

As for the leader of PA, he has a history of having control over exactly nothing.

JAN NISSAR, NSW, Australia


I BELIEVE about 50 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.

Most of this is because of unemployment.

I believe the solution to this is good government policy and a better informative research policy that can find solutions to overcome this issue.


Prince to King

NOW that Charles, former Prince of Wales has become Charles III, King of England, I am wondering when our famous sports ground here in Nadi will ascend from Prince to King Charles III Park.

Perhaps after the coronation?


Fiji football

IT’S so sad to see local bazaar tournament aired live on pay per view sites yet the national team games are not even live at all.

That shows where the priorities are for Fiji FA.

MOSES MANI, Auckland, NZ

Ban phones

PHONES should be banned from schools because it is a distraction.

All our children should play and do some physical exercise instead of being on the phone.

Education should be the number one priority.

When at school, students should not spend time on their phones.

TAITUSI SOKIVETA, Phoniex, Arizona, US

Balance reporting

THE Fiji Times reporting on “program ensuring no Fijian left behind” (FT 26/9) and “no one will be left behind” (FT 26/9) is evidence of balance and frank reporting by professional journalists in this 153-year-old newspaper.

While reports with pictures speak volumes, words with actions should speak louder.

Long live The Fiji Times.


Which one

AROUND the basins and elsewhere, which do you think has been talked about more, the U19 team qualifying for the soccer world cup or the recently drawn IDC pool?


Another clean-up

HERE we go again, another clean-up campaign. (FT 28/09)

It never seems to end.

We pick up and dispose of rubbish, left by careless and thoughtless citizens.

They will carelessly throw away rubbish, and we will keep on picking it.

We will keep on doing this, until everyone properly, discards their own rubbish, in the waste or rubbish bins.


Root causes

FINDING an efficient and effective solution to any problem requires thorough investigation to determine the root cause of the problem.

All too often, we see the tip of the iceberg and begin to wonder about its actual depth and size.

I am referring to the fraud cases of a few members of Parliament who have given false information just to claim extra travelling allowances.

Consider the fact that the backbenchers are on an annual base salary of $50,000 with a $200 per day allowance for committee sittings and overseas travel.

Furthermore, some are entitled to travelling allowances to the parliamentary sittings.

Despite having such lucrative income packages, some still preferred to cheat the system and claim extra allowances.

After all, it is all taxpayers’ money – the same taxpayers who voted them into the Parliament in the previous general elections.

It may be argued that thorough vetting should also have been done by the relevant officials before the payments were released to such MPs.

Yet, the fact remains that we need to find the root causes of this problem as to why some honourable members are cheating the system.

And like I said earlier, these fraud cases could still be the tip of another gigantic iceberg.

We may never know its extent beneath the surface.


Golden jubilee celebrations

BHAWANI Dayal Arya College, a premier secondary education institution, was established by Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji in 1972.

This was in response to demand for secondary education in a densely populated Nakasi area.

This institution was named after a great Indian patriot and an activist: Bhawani Dayal Sanyasi who fought for the rights of indentured Indian labourers in South Africa.

He was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi who fought for Indian independence.

The Golden Jubilee celebrations are planned for Friday, September 30, 2022 at the college premises.

A series of activities have been organised to mark the occasion.

The chief guest will be the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Education Dr Anjeela Jokhan.

The day will begin with havan (fire sacrifice and prayer) followed by a series of cultural activities, songs, dramas, videos from former students, college song, flag hoisting and national anthem.

The Golden Jubilee magazine will be launched by the chief guest to mark the occasion.

This will be followed by a sumptuous lunch for all and photography session.

From its establishment in 1972, the college has seen steady growth of buildings.

The main double-storey building was built and was officially opened by the late Filipe Bole, the then permanent secretary for education in 1976.

The canteen was built in 1980, the multicraft wing in 1982, the South wing in 1983, additional classrooms in 1988, the industrial arts wing (1990) which also houses computer laboratory, text book bank and toilets for the staff members and the girls.

In 1993 five classrooms and a havan room was built.

The college has a roll of 816 students, 48 teaching staff members and seven ancillary staff members.

It has five streams each of Year 9, 10, 11, 12 and four streams of Year 13.

It is a very robust institution providing holistic education to its students.

It takes great pride in sports and instilling leadership skills in students.

The students council is very active.

I was privileged to have been the principal of this great college from 1990 to 1999.

This was the best chapter in my educational career.

May I wish the Bhawani Dayal Arya College family a very happy Golden Jubilee celebration.

DEWAN CHAND, Namadi Heights, Suva

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