Palau makes a stand against Non-Communicable Diseases
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 02:51PM By Maripet L. Poso – For Variety

KOROR (Palau Horizon) – To make a stand against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in Palau, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is holding a three-day NCD Programs Update, from July 5 to 7 at Palasia Hotel.

The event aims to provide an avenue to let Stakeholders at Bureau of Public Health and community partners share information and solicit strategies to address NCD burden in Palau. At the end of the event, the NCD Unit hopes to have come up with a Declaration of NCD as a state of emergency to be submitted to the Olbiil Era Kelulau.

During the last Pacific Island Health Officers Associations (PIHOA) meeting in February, PIHOA declared lifestyle diseases or NCD as a state of emergency, an epidemic that is sweeping Palau and the rest of Pacific.

“Palau and the rest of the Micronesian region are experiencing an epidemic called lifestyle-related diseases, yet there is no sense of emergency towards it,” said MOH Minister and PIHOA President Stevenson Kuartei in a previous interview.

According to Yorah Demei, NCD Administrator, this is the first NCD Update being done by MOH because NCD was under different programs before. “But since 2009, Minister Kuartei decided to merge the programs under one unit, the NCD,” Demei explained.

During the three-day event, the NCD staff will present all their programs to give participants an overview of the services provided by the MOH.

“These are diseases that can be prevented,” said Demei. “These are diseases that are directly affected by the lifestyle choices you make. If you eat fatty food and you don’t exercise, then you’ll get sick.”

NCD includes cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cervical cancer, injuries, to name a few. “If you stop smoking and drinking, do exercise and eat a balanced diet, then you’ll prevent these diseases,” she explained.

Among the NCD programs that MOH has are diabetes program, comprehensive cancer control programs, tobacco and alcohol prevention programs, as well as small programs for schools to prevent obesity.

Apart from influencing participants’ attitudes towards NCD, the event also aims to motivate them to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“We also hope to set our course, where do we go from here,” Demei added.

The event is in collaboration with the Public Health, Community Coalitions, such as Omellemel ma Ulekerreuil a Bedenged, UAK, Stop Tobacco Use Now, and Council of Substance Abuse Prevention.

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