Med Symposium suggests including DOE in NCD battle
Some participants of the Medical Symposium held last weekend called for participation of the Education Department and all schools in American Samoa’s fight against non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes, to ensure that young students are aware of the health risk involved in unhealthy living.
Speakers who presented on diabetes reiterated during the symposium the need for residents to take good care of themselves, starting at a young age by maintaining a healthy diet and life style. Data revealed during the hearing, was explained by an off-island delegate as “startling” and “frightening”.
Some local delegates questioned why there was no full-participation of DOE at the symposium, to ensure the right message is delivered to students and others in the education system.
Dr. Bethal Muasau with OBGYN at LBJ Medical Center, said DOE should be playing a big part in the fight against diabetes “because we’re looking at our children” as they are the ones in the future to deal with diabetes for themselves and their families.
Also to be targeted for battling NCDs are members of the Legislature, as part of an entire community collaborative effort, she said, and noted that some DOH staff have talked about prevention. Since “prevention is key to the problem” there is a need to have primary health care, to prevent a person from becoming diabetic.
Esther Bruce, who is detailed by the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA) to the local Health Department, said she has been hearing a lot about youth and education and suggested the “revival of our presence in schools so that the kids, even teachers, the cafeteria [personnel], and [school] staff are bombarded with our message here — because if they can’t come to us, I don’t see why we can’t go to them.”
She says such a move would require grant funding, and “that’s also a way to beef up the nursing staff and beef up more medical resources.”
Meanwhile, Dr. ‘Iuvale Vimoto with the Manu’a Dispensary requested that DOH and LBJ bring to the Manu’a Island group the same presentation that was made during the symposium, so that residents there are also fully aware of the importance to combat NCDs.
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