What are NCDs?
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. The 4 main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. These 4 groups of diseases account for 82% of all NCD deaths. Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from an NCD.*
The problem of NCDs is at a critical level in Tonga. With an increasing number of Tongans being affected by heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking-related illnesses, TongaHealth was established to combat this burden of disease and promote healthy lifestyle changes throughout Tonga.
TongaHealth uses evidence-based approaches to increase the knowledge, skills and resources of key organisations through advocacy for and promotion of healthy environments and healthy living.
Tonga Health Promotion Foundation (TongaHealth) was established by the Health Promotion Foundation Act 2007 as an independent body to act as a link between the community, NGOs, and the Government to promote health by fighting Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
TongaHealth was and remains grant making body dedicated to the prevention and control of NCDs in Tonga. Undertaking the role of secretariat to the National Non-Communicable Diseases Committee is not only consistent with this core function and the Health Promotion Foundation Act 2007, but supports heightened effectiveness of TongaHealth's core grant making role.
As secretariat, TongaHealth is able to strengthen the effectiveness of its grant making because it has the mandate to work intensively with partners and donors to develop clear, shared and evidence-formed agreements to underpin the grants process.
Vision & Values
Our vision is for a healthy Tonga where everyone is responsible for promoting health
and everyone shares in the benefits of a healthy population.
TongaHealth is guided by the following values:
• Partnership and Collaboration
• Respect and Trustworthiness
• Transparency and Accountability
• Health Equity
TongaHealth pursues its vision to promote a healthy population and reduce the burden of NCDs by:
• Funding activities, through competitive grants schemes and sponsorships, to
increase the capacity of organisations, communities and individuals to improve
health. Grant-making programs are open to NGOs, government institutions,
church and community organisations, on a competitive basis according to
published eligibility criteria. The allocation of grants are based upon an
assessment of project proposals against published funding criteria.
• Acting as a catalyst or advocate for the development of health promotion
policies, programs and environments, based on sound evidence.
• Designing and conducting social marketing campaigns, in partnership with other
health promotion organisations, to communicate healthy messages for
behavior change to the whole population through TV, radio, print media and
• Giving particular focus to key settings and population groups and remote areas
where inequalities exist.
TongaHealth focuses on four priorities for program delivery:
• Healthy eating
• Physical activity
• Tobacco control
• Reduction of harm from alcohol misuse
These priorities are aligned and complement with Tonga’s national public health
priorities, specifically the National Strategy to Prevent and Control Non-Communicable
Diseases, Tonga 2015- 2020. In addition, they are guided by the following milestones:
Tonga recognized the urgency of reducing NCDs through the Tonga Commitment 2003.
The reversal of NCDs in Tonga is included as a target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Tonga to be achieved by 2015.
The International Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) : SDG1, SDG2, SDG3, SDG5, SDG10
Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020
Tonga signed the WHO International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003.
Tonga signed the WHO International Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non- Communicable Diseases (2010-2015) was launched.
United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), Article 24