The National, Tuesday October 15th, 2013
HEALTH Department secretary Pascoe Kase agrees with the Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Michael Malabag that betel nut chewing greatly increases the risk of developing mouth cancer and other chronic diseases.
“NCD Governor Powes Parkop’s bold move in banning the sale and chewing of betel nuts in the city, and proposing a bill to enforce the ban is commendable,” Kase said.
“As a Melanesian from the coast, I agree that betel nut is embedded into culture, however, chewing and disposing of betel nuts rubbish indiscriminately is a blow to the cultural context of betel nuts use.
“In health, self-inflicted diseases like cancer development traces to betel nuts chewing, which is expensive to treat and causes death when patients present themselves late to the hospital.
“Malabag has pointed out that 90% of mouth cancer patients seen at the Port Moresby General hospital’s oral surgery clinic are associated with betel nuts chewing.
“I emphasise that betel nuts chewing has detrimental effects on the human body which can cause high blood pressure, high heart beat rate, anxiety, abnormal heart beats and can have effect on pregnant mothers affecting unborn babies.
“While maintaining the betel nut sban, we need to support our people in the informal sector by encouraging them to venture into selling arts and crafts, hand-sewn clothing and footwear and garden produce.
“As Port Moresby residents, let’s not be skeptical about the betel nuts ban and be more innovative on engaging our time and resources in sustaining our livelihood and protecting our health.”