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Add health literacy to the list of October happenings

A special lunch earlier this year at Carl's Jr  for the youngsters enrolled in the Aoelua Family Reading Program

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has proclaimed October as National Health Literacy Month, saying that “whereas cancer, precipitated or aggravated by lifestyle factors, accounts for the second leading cause of death in men and women in American Samoa, improving health literacy is a powerful means of preventing or mitigating cancer for our community.”

Health literacy is defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate healthcare decisions.”

The American Samoa Community Cancer Coalition, the LBJ Tropical Medical Center, and the American Samoa Community College’s Area Health and Education Centers “seek to promote health literacy,” said Lolo, who added that information provided by the INSPIRE program “will help to include health literacy as priority to future planning efforts.”

Within the community, the Aoelua Family Reading Program is on board, offering to help twelve local teachers with their classroom libraries. “Health Literacy Month brings awareness to breaking down the barriers of understanding,” the group wrote in its social media post.

Teachers were to post certain information on the Aoelua Family Reading Program’s Facebook page and the last day to post is today, Oct. 9th. The selected 12 teachers will be notified tomorrow, Oct 10th with information on the meeting place and time.

Each teacher will get a free dessert of their choice and 10 reading books (some used, but in good condition) for their classroom library. Each participant also has the chance to win classroom decorations, new children's book(s), handouts, and other prizes.

In addition to health literacy, October is also National Bullying Prevention Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, American Archives Month, and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.