Anaemia cases here up from 48 per cent to 63 per cent: Ministry
Two-thirds of children less than five years of age have contributed to the increase of anaemia cases in Fiji.
For the past 10 years, specifically from 48 per cent to 63 per cent. Ministry of Health and Medical Services Head of National Wellness Centre and Non-Communicable Diseases National Advisor Doctor Isimeli Tukana highlighted this. He was speaking at the NCDs Panel discussion at the University of the South Pacific Lautoka Campus on Thursday.
“For children in the ages five to 14, anaemia cases has increased from 28.85 per cent to 45 per cent and for children from 15-17 years it has increased from 33.2 per cent to 43.5 per cent,” he said.
Mr Tukana said parents needed to be more engaged in the dietary choices of their children.
“It’s the parents not giving their children iron-rich foods and vegetables. We as parents are not giving our children iron-rich foods like tubua, bele, rourou, saijan and watercress,” he said.
He said there were also other causes of anaemia among children.
“The other cause of anaemia that we have found are the worms, particularly hookworms, but the biggest one is nutrition because right, when children are weaned most of them, are not given vegetables, they are given all the processed foods like biscuit and noodles,” he said.
He said anaemia cases were also recorded among adults. “Before, we only thought women get anaemia, but now men are getting it as well and it has increased from 31 per cent to 32 and for ladies, it has increased from 35.3 per cent to 48. For pregnant women it has increased from 36 per cent to 40 per cent,” he said.
He added that most adults were not living past the age of 65. “Only 3.2 per cent of Fijians live up to the age of 65 and 1.6 per cent are over 75 so that means there are a lot of Fijians dying before 65 and we know from the hospital side that most deaths are caused by NCDs and it’s a generational problem,” he said.
Other speakers were USP PACE-Sd Research fellow Lau Viliamu Iese and Umanand Prasad School of Medicine and Health Sciences lecturer, Doctor Sakiusa Mainawalala.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services Head of National Wellness Centre and Non-Communicable Diseases National Advisor Doctor Isimeli Tukana