The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. Division of Public Health Services Non-Communicable Disease Bureau, in partnership with the Office of the Governor and the Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services conducted a meeting to combat the burdens of NCDs, such as cancer and diabetes, in the CNMI. This meeting was conducted last Aug. 15 and 16 in order to finalize the strategic plan developed by the NCD State Task Force addressing the issue of NCDs.
The NCD State Task Force consists of seven councils: The Behavioral Health, Community and Clinical Linkage, Cancer Prevention and Control, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Tobacco Prevention and Control, and the Policy council. Each respective council focuses on certain aspects of an NCD and each work together to combat the spread of NCDs in the CNMI.
During the meeting, each of the NCD Task Force councils shared ideas and concerns relating to their focuses and observations in the past few years. This discussion will be used to inform the councils’ efforts moving forward, including:
Developing and strengthening policies to address NCDs, including implementing a Worksite Wellness Policy, increasing the legal age for using tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age, and enforcement of Public Law 16-46 or the Smoke-Free Air Act.
Increasing “whole society” partnerships with government and private institutions in the CNMI, as well as community leaders and youth, to promote health.
Create Health Toolkits that provide information and ways for patients to track their preventive care, as well as educational kits that community members can use to provide basic NCD prevention information to family and friends.
Addressing substance abuse and recovery in the community.
The NCDB aims to solidify the Task Force’s strategic plan over November and share the information with CNMI political leaders for support and implementation across the board. Despite the ongoing austerity measures, the NCD Task Force councils are determined to continue to work together collaboratively to reduce the burden of NCDs in the CNMI.
According to CHCC’s 2016 report on NCDs and risk factors, over 50% of adults in the CNMI suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressures, which can lead to other major health issues, including strokes. Over 60% of CNMI adults are considered either overweight or obese, and over 10% have diabetes.
The NCD Task Force councils are open to all interested members of the CNMI community, including youth and young adults. Interested participants can contact NCDB Administrator Amber Mendiola at (670) 236-8728 or connect with them on Facebook @cnmiPublicHealth.