With the formal launch of the report Using Taxation to Address Noncommunicable Diseases: Lessons from Tonga held in Nuku’alofa in October 2019, the government of Tonga and the World Bank team visited the Outer Islands of Tonga to share the findings and policy recommendations with officials and communities. In January 2020, the team visited the island of ‘Eua, meeting with the Island’s officials, government officers, health staff and community representatives. The stakeholder knowledge sharing sessions confirmed the support for report findings and recommendations from the communities, including their desire to see that the government uses increased revenues from the excise taxes to improve the health and well-being of the population. Government representatives also appreciated a variety of issues raised during the sessions that were unique to the challenges and experiences of life in an Outer Island, which will support future policy design.
The team also held a series of community consultation sessions across different villages which were open to everyone. “These public knowledge sharing sessions are an important component of the project,” says Sutayut Osornprasop, World Bank Team Lead, “both in order to feedback results to those communities which participated in the initial research, but also to communicate to the public the importance of changing behaviors and combatting NCDs in Tonga.”