The National – Friday, December 24, 2010
By ELIZABETH MIAE
HEALTH and HIV/AIDS Minister Sasa Zibe has called on all citizens to celebrate responsibly during the Christmas and New Year period.
In his Christmas message to the nation, he said he was committed to the PNG Health Strategy 2010-20 and that good health was vital for everybody and every facet of life.
“Whilst wishing the people of Papua New Guinea good health and responsible drinking during the festive season, I must emphasise that food and recreational habits are two main causes of ill health,” he said.
He reminded people that lifestyle diseases were simply due to the neglect of some simple rules of healthy eating and drinking which ultimately caused damage to the body system.
“There is a common saying ‘What’s good for the mouth is bad for the stomach’.
“Without any doubt I am an advocate for physical and mental health being vital for quality life,” he said.
Zibe said that alcohol use remained deeply embedded in many societies and PNG was not exceptional, adding that social and cultural norms and values had always surrounded the use of alcohol beverages.
“Drinking to intoxication, including binge drinking and homebrew is a significant cause of alcohol-related harm in PNG, it is related to unintentional injuries including drink driving, aggressive behaviour and family disturbances and reduced industrial productivity,” he stressed.
As the minister responsible, he is invigorated that the country has taken the issue on alcohol abuse very serious.
He said reports showed that an estimated 90% of trauma admissions to the hospital emergency wards in the country rose from unintentional injuries which were often associated with harmful use of alcohol.
“I have tasked the department to zero in on the four strategic core areas which are: reducing the risk of harmful use of alcohol, minimising the impact of the harmful use of alcohol, regulating the accessibility and availability of alcohol and establishing mechanisms to facilitate and sustain implementation of the strategy,” stated Zibe.
“The harmful use of alcohol is associated with many health conditions such as physical including mental disorders and suicide, cancers and other non-communicable diseases.
“Let us not forget it is also associated with intentional and unintentional injuries and high risk behaviours including unsafe sex and using other drugs, HIV and STIs.”