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Reducing salt intake in the Pacific Islands

The George Institute for Global Health recently brought together the collaborators from the NHMRC funded Global Alliance for Chronic Disease project on ‘Cost Effectiveness of Salt Reduction Strategies in the Pacific Islands’ at a meeting in Sydney.

The four-day meeting featured Chief Investigators from the George Institute and Deakin University, and local investigators from the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Noncommunicable disease (C-POND), the World Health Organization in Fiji, and the Ministry of Health in Samoa.

The participants discussed the preliminary results of the project, exchanged and documented experiences, discussed next steps including maximising translational research impact, and identified opportunities for future collaboration to ensure a continuation of their salt reduction efforts in the Pacific Islands.

Chief Investigator of the project, Dr Jacqui Webster of The George Institute, said: “Over the past four years, research teams in Fiji and Samoa have measured baseline salt intake, salt levels in foods and sources of salt, as well as conducting qualitative analysis of stakeholder views to develop and implement targeted interventions to reduce salt.

“Interventions have been multi-faceted, combining efforts to change the food environment with stakeholder mobilisation and awareness raising. Both regulations and innovative approaches to behaviour change – like the first ever Salt Awareness Week Concert – have been integrated into the approaches.

“The results of the post-intervention monitoring and comprehensive process evaluations are being finalised and will be communicated back to the communities in Fiji and Samoa over the next few months.”

The meeting served as a platform to share ideas and experiences, which enabled Chief Investigators and participants to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and successes of the projects. These will help to inform and improve future projects.

The report of the meeting highlighting the lessons learnt from the project will be disseminated later in this year through the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre on Salt reduction at the George Institute in line with its remit to support Member States towards achieving the global target of reducing average population salt intake by 30% by 2025.

 

Top image, left to right: Joseph Alvin Santos (TGI), Arleen Sukhu (C-POND, Fiji National University), Merina Ieremia (Ministry of Health Samoa), Jacqui Webster (TGI), Kathy Trieu (TGI), Arti Pillay (C-POND, Fiji National University), Colin Bell (Deakin University), Ilisapeci Kubuabola (C-POND, Fiji National University), Silvia Hope (Deakin University), Clare Farrand (TGI), Marj Moodie (Deakin University), Junior Siitia (Ministry of Health, Samoa)