An assessment of non-communicable diseases, diabetes, and related risk factors in the territory of American Samoa: a systems perspective

Henry M Ichiho, Faiese T Roby, Elisapeta S Ponausuia, Nia Aitaoto
Hawai'i Journal of Medicine & Public Health: a Journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health 2013, 72 (5 Suppl 1): 10-8
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have been identified as a health emergency in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).1 This assessment, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted in American Samoa and describes the burden of selected NCDs (ie, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and chronic kidney disease); and assesses the system of service capacity and activities regarding service delivery, data collection and reporting as well as identifies the issues needing to be addressed. Findings reveal that nutrient-poor diet, lack of physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors are associated with overweight and obesity and subsequent NCDs that impact the morbidity and mortality of the population. The leading causes of death include heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke. Population surveys show that 93% of the adults are overweight or obese and 47% have diabetes. Among public school children, 44.6% are overweight or obese. Other data show that between 2006 and 2010, there was a 33% increase in the number of patients receiving hemodialysis. Other findings show significant gaps in the system of administrative, clinical, data, and support services to address these NCDs. There is a paucity of health plans, policy and procedure manuals, coordination among providers, and lack of common standards of care. The combined administrative and clinical system of service needs were identified and prioritized. They include the need for a Territory-wide health strategy and plan, need for standards of care, and a need for collaborative team approach for the treatment and management of patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases.

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