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Thursday, April 24, 2014

CHC has 34 new patients undergoing dialysis
Voluntary Monthly Health Walk for govt employees endorsed

The number of patients being treated at the Commonwealth Health Center’s new dialysis center continues to grow with the public hospital admitting 34 new patients last year.

Based on hospital records, 34 new patients were treated by the dialysis center in 2012, which brings to 107 the total number of dialysis patients at CHC as of Dec. 2. It was revealed that diabetes is among the major factors in the dramatic increase of dialysis patients and increase in off-island medical referrals.

According to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the CNMI’s health profile shows alarming indicators that the current generation is under siege and under the burden of non-communicable diseases or NCDs. These are linked to an unhealthy lifestyle and linked to the lack of effective health policies in addressing this issue. It was disclosed that people living in the CNMI are dying prematurely and are suffering from the dysfunctions related to NCDs.

“The leading cause of death in the CNMI is due to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke which are all NCDs. These NCDs and their associated risk factors account for 70 percent of deaths in the CNMI,” according to the corporation’s statement yesterday, adding that just after the World War II, a naval survey of the islands found no cases of diabetes. Today, however, diabetes is a major health concern.

It was learned that the dramatic increase is associated with many factors, most importantly increased use of fatty or salty imported food, increased consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and decreased physical activity.

Last Jan. 11, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, through the request of the corporation’s CEO Juan N. Babauta, formally endorsed a monthly voluntary Health Walk for all government employees in order to promote healthier living and to further promote the local “Let’s Move Marianas! Yengyung with the Kangkung” initiative, which was spearheaded by the corporation in collaboration with other government and private agencies and community organizations.

One-hour administrative leave OK’d

The participation at the monthly walks are on a voluntary basis and at the discretion of department and agency heads and participating government employees will be granted one hour administrative leave as an incentive to participate in the monthly Health Walks.

This program is envisioned to bring more awareness of the need of people to eat healthy, move more and be tobacco-free.

The first Health Walk, which is themed “Let’s Move with the PHS Walk,” will be attended by the U.S. Public Health Services Commission Corps (PHS) team led by Assistant Surgeon General Rear Admiral Newton E. Kendig. The PHS team arrived in December for a 90-day deployment to provide technical assistance to the corporation.

The first walk is scheduled for Jan 22, beginning 3:30pm commencing at the Garapan Fishing Base and succeeding Health Walks will be announced at a later date.

An extension of the “Let’s Move Marianas!” committee, a Health Walk subcommittee has been formed to spearhead this endeavor and is presently comprised of representatives from CHCC, the American Red Cross, the Office of the Mayor of Saipan, Chamber of Commerce, Ayuda Network, KKMP Foundation, NMC-CREES, and the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. The day of the walk was strategically selected by the committee to coincide with the weekly Tuesday Farmers Market located at the Fishing Basin in order to promote good nutrition by eating more fruits and vegetables and other local produce.

There will be free health education and screenings for blood sugar, high blood pressure and Body Mass Index (BMI) in order to provide participants their health status baseline. The goal in providing participants with their baseline data is to help them make realistic and reachable health goals for succeeding walks and other Let’s Move Marianas! Initiatives this year.

The general public, including schools and the private sector, is invited to participate at these monthly health walks. For more information or if you would like to register your agency or school for this month’s Health Walk, contact the Division of Public Health’s NCD Bureau Health Promotion Office at 236-8703/285-3735 or via email at letsmovemarianas@gmail.com. The Let’s Move Marianas! Yengyung with the Kangkung!

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