29 May 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, (SPC), Noumea
At a recent meeting in Palau, Pacific tuberculosis (TB) experts have called for increased commitment to improving both the care for people with diabetes and tuberculosis, and prevention of the two diseases.
Experts from national TB and non-communicable disease programmes gathered at the combined Pacific Stop TB and Pacific Island TB Controllers Association meeting to discuss the convergence of TB and diabetes and to promote better ways of managing this dual epidemic.
The main outcome of their discussion was the Ngarachamayong Commitment on Public Health Convergence, which recognises that people living with tuberculosis in the Pacific also suffer from other non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes mellitus. National TB programmes have been noticing that many of their patients also have diabetes. The risk of developing TB is in fact three times higher for people with diabetes than it is for people without diabetes, and this poses challenges for health professionals treating both diseases.
The Ngarachamayong Commitment outlines the contrasts between TB and diabetes; one being an ancient infectious disease and the other a non-communicable disease associated with our modern way of life. The Commitment describes TB as a disease of poverty, while diabetes is a disease of economic advancement; and TB is cured with medication, while diabetes is cured with lifestyle change and medication.
The meeting was attended by 150 representatives from national TB and non-communicable disease programmes from 19 Pacific Island countries and territories and the United States, as well as technical experts from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. All countries and agencies signed the Ngarachamayong Commitment and committed to supporting and promoting better prevention of TB and diabetes, and better treatment and care for people with these diseases. They also committed to using community-based approaches to promote a healthy Pacific lifestyle and they recognised the need to address the wider social determinants of health that have an adverse effect on Pacific Islanders.
The Commitment signatories agreed to work with all Pacific Island countries and territories to prevent and better manage TB and diabetes and to revisit the commitment at regular intervals to assess and evaluate progress.
Click here to read the Ngarachamayong Commitment on Public Health Convergence:
For additional information on TB in the Pacific region, contact Ms Kerri Viney at
For additional information on diabetes in the Pacific region, contact Dr Viliami Puloka at