Health and welfare of Solomon Islanders written from the heart

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DEAR EDITOR, for a good number of years I have contributed to your newspaper my concerns relating to the health, welfare and medical needs of the people in the Solomon Islands.

Having constantly in mind such concerns I initiated contact with the charity organization in New Zealand, Take My Hands and with Lions Clubs.

Take My Hands has become my close charity partner and I retain strong bonds with Lions Clubs.

Take My Hands for at least the last three years has supplied the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical services with invaluable medical equipment and medical supplies that have essentially gone to assisting the needs of patients at the National Referral Hospital (NRH).

Lions Clubs has donated 6000 pairs of spectacles which have gone to the National Referral Hospital and been distributed to those needing eye glasses but not necessarily having had the means of acquiring their own.

The NRH and medical services in the Solomon Islands needs constant support and I think that, apart from aid in the form I have tried to secure, I believe it is only timely that I draw attention to the health factors that not only would reduce the need for medical attention but to those health related issues that ordinary Solomon Islands should be taking to protect their health and the health of their love ones.

I have already written about the manner in which the habit of eating too much imported food products containing too much fat and too much sugar has contributed in no small measure to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Such non-communicable diseases (NCD) are wholly preventable if only a more traditional diet of vegetables, fruit and protein like fish are eaten.

Smoking and drinking alcohol, including kwaso all contribute to health concerns such as obesity, liver disease and cancer.

If alcohol is taken it should be in moderation but drinking kwaso is risky and the habit not only against the law but very often high in alcohol content which dangerously heightens blood pressure.

Chewing betel nut is proven to carry a high risk of cancer, mouth disease, tooth decay and obesity.

Most often lack of exercise leads to becoming over weight and, combined, with the habits of drinking alcohol, chewing betel nut and not having a proper diet containing high levels of fat and sugary products ultimately leads to illness which could have been prevented.

Prevention is better than a cure, so the old saying goes, and I would very much hope that Solomon Islanders of all ages, but especially the younger ones, start to think positively of the life changing steps they can take to protect their health and, in turn, avoid getting sick and adding to the pressure already burdening our health services.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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