Non- Communicable Disease arise in Point Cross
The Vanuatu Family Health Association says they have detected an increase in cases of non-communicable diseases at Point Cross community in South Pentecost.
Vanuatu Family Health Association nurse, Nicole Bomere, says the cases have increased after Cyclone Harold because many garden crops were destroyed and local people have been forced into relying on less healthy food bought from the shops.
Mrs Bomere who is currently leading a team of outreach nurses on Pentecost Island, says her team has identified over 25 people at Point Cross who have non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
She says, “The majority of people who have these diseases are elderly – aged 50 and above – but others are aged only 30 to 45.”
“We have given them medicines and encouraged them to always eat healthy local food,” she said.
Mrs Bomere says the nurses are providing information to local people to make them more aware of the importance of healthy eating and of eating the right amount of food.
“We have warned them to stop adding too much salt, sugar and cooking oil to their food,” she said.
Mrs Bomere says the nurses are encouraging people on Pentecost to follow the advice from the Department of Agriculture to plant more crops and vegetables and to eat more of those local foods.
“Some other illnesses identified during our outreach work are diarrhea and flu. After Cyclone Harold, many people in affected communities on Pentecost did not have access to clean water which led to many cases of diarrhea and flu,” Ms Bomere said.
She says the teams from the Vanuatu Family Health Association are also providing free health services as part of their outreach work.
She says they are also educating women and young girls about family planning and the different family planning methods.
“One of the reasons we are educating women about family planning is to help them understand the importance of having a small family which they might be more able to look after,” she said.
“We know that during a disaster many mothers will not have enough time to look after their children.
“And nowadays teenage pregnancy has greatly increased in rural areas. So, we are trying to help young women understand how to look after their bodies. She says the teams are also providing women and young girls with information about cervical cancer and how to protect themselves from it.
“We give out condoms and talk to them about the different sexually transmitted diseases,” she said.
Mrs Bomere is calling on community leaders on Pentecost to encourage people to make use of the free health services that will be offered when the teams come to their communities.
She says mothers and young women in particular are strongly encouraged to meet with the health teams when they visit their community.
The Vanuatu Family Health Association has deployed a team of nurses and health workers to the Point Cross community on Pentecost, to provide health services to the people there.
A local from Point Cross in Pentecost says it has been a great opportunity for them to get these services from the association, especially in a remote area.
Non-communicable diseases, which include illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are a leading cause of death in Vanuatu and are a growing concern for the Vanuatu Government.
Last year the Ministry of Health undertook a nation-wide information campaign to help Ni Vanuatu become more aware of how they can prevent non-communicable diseases.