DIABETES A MAJOR HEALTH PROBLEM IN MARIANAS

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Thirty percent of population have high blood sugar

By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Nov. 24, 2008) – The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Department of Public Health is facing a big challenge because of the alarming rate of people with diabetes in the islands.

It is estimated that about 30 percent or one third of the population of the CNMI have above the normal levels of sugar in their blood.

The Diabetes Prevention and Control Program has been conducting activities and ways how to combat this.

One such event was the "Family Health Awareness Day" last Saturday near the Sabalu market, where hundreds of people of all ages took part in a free clinic that also included live music and dance entertainment.

The event's head coordinator Trina Sablan said their goal is to promote diabetes awareness among the community.

"We want to reach out everybody, kids and parents, because we have a big number of people affected. We want to educate them in our creative way and in many ways. This is just one of them," Sablan said.

She said they want to make a strong message that "we provide quality services to the community."

The event is in collaboration with the Community Guidance Center, Breast Cervico Screening Program, Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, Marianas Health Services, Commonwealth Diabetes Coalition, Ayuda Network, DPH, Division of Environmental Quality, and Northern Marianas College-CREES.

Sablan also thanked the Kagman Honor Society for helping then in organizing the venue and assisting the people. Other sponsors were Power 99, First Hawaiian Bank, and Herman's Bakery.

Booths from all these agencies and NGOs provided volunteer services like flu vaccination shot, blood sugar screening, and blood pressure check-up.

Nursing clubs were also there to volunteer their services as well as the DPH immunization department were.

Aside from the medical services, people were also provided with free healthy foods, T-shirts, and healthy kits.

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