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WHO mission in Manila, In the field in Mauritus
visiting President Mrs Arroya
experience in Nauru attracted the attention of WHO and the South Pacific
Commission and we were then asked to undertake surveys in a number of other
Pacific Islands initially Western Samoa (19) and Fiji (20). Then followed
Tuvalu, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, the Cook Islands and
Papua New Guinea. Again high prevalence rates of diabetes and its
complications were established. It was clear that here was a time bomb ready
to blow in terms of morbidity and mortality.
At about that time the National Institutes of Health (NIH) came on the scene as a very strong supporter of diabetes epidemiology. The thrust was led by the enthusiasm and vision of Maureen Harris who encouraged overseas workers to apply for NIH funding. NIH generously funded a number of groups based on the fact they were undertaking work that could not be done in the United States – a very visionary position. In 1979, my group was fortunate to receive NIH funding which carried on for 20 years. Thank you, Uncle Sam!