Baseline Status of Policy and Legislation Actions to Address Non Communicable Diseases Crisis in the Pacific
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) are the leading cause of death in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) accounting for approximately 70% of mortalities. Pacific leaders committed to take action on the Pacific NCD Roadmap, which specifies NCD policy and legislation. To monitor progress against the NCD Roadmap, the Pacific Monitoring Alliance for NCD Action (MANA) was formed and the MANA dashboard was developed. This paper reports on the first status assessment for all 21 PICTs.
The MANA Dashboard comprises 31 indicators across the domains of leadership and governance, preventive policies, health system response and monitoring processes, and uses a ‘traffic light’ rating scheme to track progress. The dashboard indicators draw on WHO’s best-buy interventions and track highly cost-effective interventions for addressing NCDs. The MANA coordination team in collaboration with national NCD focal points completed Dashboards for all 21 PICTs between 2017 and 2018 in an agreed process. The data were analysed and presented within each area of the MANA dashboard.
This assessment found that PICTs are at varying stages of developing and implementing NCD policy and legislation. Some policy and legislation are in place in most PICTs e.g. smoke free environment (18 PICTs), alcohol licensing (19 PICTs), physical education in schools (14 PICTs), reduction of population salt consumption (14 PICTs) etc. However, no PICTs has policy or legislation on tobacco industry interference, controlling marketing of foods and drinks to children, and reducing trans-fats in the food supply, and only 7 PICTs have policies restricting alcohol advertising. Eighteen PICTs implement tobacco taxation measures, however only five were defined as having strong measures in place. Nineteen PICTs have alcohol taxation mechanisms and 13 PICTs have fiscal policies on foods to promote healthier diets.
This baseline assessment fills a knowledge gap on current strengths and areas where more action is needed to scale up NCD action in a sustained ‘whole of government and whole of society approach’ in PICTs. The findings of this assessment can be used to identify priority actions, and as a mutual accountability mechanism to track progress on implementation of NCD policy and legislation at both national and Pacific level.