Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) are committed to address the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by strengthening mutual accountability mechanisms via the Pacific Monitoring Alliance for NCD Action (MANA) dashboard.
The Pacific MANA dashboard was endorsed by Pacific Health Ministers in 2017 which comprises of 31 indicators across the areas of leadership and governance, preventing policies (tobacco, alcohol, food, physical activity), health system response and monitoring processes, and uses a ‘traffic light rating scheme to track progress. In 2018 during the Pacific Heads of Health Meeting, it was urged that PICTs ensure policy and legislation gaps were identified using the MANA dashboard and take action to improve this.
Progress post 2018
In November 2019 a Pacific MANA and legislative framework workshop was held in Nadi, attended by representatives from PICTs Ministry’s of Health and Attorney General’s office.
During this workshop, PICTs reviewed the existing MANA dashboard and made recommendations, while discussing recent progress and challenges at country level and identify opportunities to strengthen programmes, policies, legislation, and leadership. In addition to this, participants reviewed the draft Pacific NCD Legislative Framework with a view to strengthen the framework and its future implementation, in preparation for submission to the next Pacific Heads of Health meeting for further consideration and guidance as to the next steps.
Why is this accountability mechanism important to PICTs?
Fiji Ministry of Health & Medical Services Dr Isimeli Tukana, National Advisor NCD
“I think this is the move in the right direction. We now have a monitoring framework but we really need to get into the legislation framework. We have been doing a lot of advocacy and health promotion, but the legal framework needs to come in otherwise we can be doing a lot of advocacy and promotion but without teeth we won’t be able to move forward and I believe the legal framework will give us that direction, not only for Fiji but as a regional direction.”
PNG Department of Health Vicki Wari, National NCD Coordinator
“It has helped me monitor the progress in my country. The legislative framework is very important and our legal officer is here with me and it is very important for our country. We are now going through a lot of legislative reviews, for instance with the tobacco regulation and now we our alcohol legislation is in review which is outdated and the timing is right, especially with what we discussed around the alcohol indicators which can also be considered as we go through the review.”
Samoa Ministry of Health, Jun Ho Gregory Kim, NCD Coordinator
“MANA dashboard identifies and gives us knowledge of regional commitments but also encourages and highlights the work that we do, especially in terms of monitoring and presentation, it shows us the work that we have been doing all this time with the accurate reporting system.”
Tonga Ministry of Health, Dr Reynold Ofanoa, Director Public Health
“This meeting has been a great opportunity for us to see where we are at with policies and legislations in regards to NCD priority actions. It also allows us to identify what areas we need to strengthen and address the NCD crisis affecting Tonga and most of the Pacific. This meeting has also provided us with the opportunity to look at legislations and learn from other countries, as we work to amend where necessary and be effective in implementing relevant actions to address NCDs in Tonga.”
Where to from here?
The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Public Health Division, Dr Ilisapeci Kubuabola said, “For now, we have the countries go through their dashboard again alongside the legislative framework and they have identified their priority areas. They have till June 2020 to action some of those priority areas especially the low hanging fruit and we along with partners will work alongside countries in implementing this.”
This meeting took place in Nadi, Fiji, 25-28 November 2019 and was co-hosted and funded by SPC and the World Health Organization (WHO) with support from other partners such as, the Pacific Islands Health Officers Association (PIHOA) and the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and NCD (CPOND), Fiji National University (FNU) and other partner agencies.
Evlyn Mani, Communications and Information Officer, Public Health Division (PHD), Pacific Community (SPC) | E: evlynm
SPC is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting sustainable development since 1947. It is an intergovernmental development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.