An assessment of non-communicable diseases, diabetes, and related risk factors in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kwajelein Atoll, Ebeye Island: a systems perspective

Henry M Ichiho, Johannes Seremai, Richard Trinidad, Irene Paul, Justina Langidrik, Nia Aitaoto
Hawai'i Journal of Medicine & Public Health: a Journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health 2013, 72 (5): 77-86
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have been declared a health emergency in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI). This assessment, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted on Ebeye Island of Kwajelein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to describe the burdens due to selected NCD (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, chronic kidney disease); assess the system of service capacity and activities for service delivery, data collection, and reporting; and identify the key issues that need to be addressed. Findings reveal that the risk factors of poor diet, lack of physical activity, and lifestyle behaviors lead to overweight and obesity and subsequent NCD that impact the morbidity and mortality of the population. Population survey of the RMI show that 62.5% of the total population is overweight or obese with a dramatic increase from the 15-24 year old (10.6%) and the 25-64 year old (41.9%) age groups. The leading causes of death were septicemia, renal failure, pneumonia, cancer, and myocardial infarction. Other findings show gaps in the system of administrative, clinical, and support services to address these NCD. All health care in Ebeye is provided in one setting and there is collaboration, coordination, and communication among medical and health care providers. The Book of Protocols for the Kwajalein Atoll Health Care Bureau provides the guidelines, standards, and policy and procedures for the screening, diagnosis, and management of diabetes and other NCDs. Based on these findings, priority issues and problems to be addressed for the administrative, clinical, and data systems were identified.

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