PNG losing elites through lifestyle diseases

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 26th March 2013


PAPUA New Guinea is losing its elites including academics to lifestyle diseases causing a brain drain in human resource, according to the National Research Institute (NRI).

The institute director Dr Thomas Webster said during a health talk on lifestyle diseases yesterday that if elites suffered from lifestyle diseases they became useless and did not contribute to the development of the country.

Webster was concerned that there might not be replacements of elites who possessed valuable knowledge and expertise in various fields of study in PNG.

He said it was important for people to recognise the value of the return rate in terms of human resource participation in the economy.

He added that when elites suffered or died from these diseases they put everyone at risk, including their families.

“We want Papua New Guineans to know the importance of looking after ourselves,” Webster said. 

“If you are healthy you contribute a lot to the development of our country.” 

The institute, having recognised the significance of the issue, organised the talk for its staff, coordinated by heart specialist Dr Jack Amana of the Sir Buri Kidu Heart Foundation at the Port Moresby General Hospital and the Hospital Poroman Foundation. 

HPF representative Janet Sios said there was a need to address these issues and improve the life expectancy of every citizen.

Papua New Guinea has one of the of lowest life expectancy in the world.

Sios, who is leading a nationwide awareness on lifestyle diseases, said that there was a lack of knowledge among people about lifestyle diseases. 

“If we carry out more awareness we can save more lives. 

“If other countries have a higher life expectancy, so should Papua New Guinea,” she said.

“We want to highlight once again the increase of lifestyle diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, liver and kidney diseases.”

Sios said it had become a health issue due to the ignorance of people to a healthy lifestyle “that is, to eat properly, exercise regularly, sleep well, no alcohol and drugs, manage stress from work and regular medical checkups”.

She encouraged people 35 years and younger to start thinking of living a healthy life by going for regular medical checkups.