In tandem with the renovation of three dispensaries, the Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), is seeking to provide “prevention programs” to supply health education to Palau’s States.
Medical professionals based in the community health centers will host a combination of seminars, nutrition-based advertisements, and other community-outreach programs in order to “support the communities with information to fight against things like diabetes” and other non-communicable diseases (NCD’s).
The programs are part of a multi-stage project by the MOH and UNOPS to improve the public health system in Palau. The first stage of the plan involved a $1.5 million grant from the Government of India, administered by UNOPS, which is now being used to rehabilitate community health centers in Peleliu, Ngerchelong, and Ngeremlengui. But Minister of Health Emais Roberts has said that subsequent stages will involve repairing community health centers in the rest of the states, rehabilitating the Belau National Hospital, and stationing nurses and doctors permanently in the facilities. The health centers are expected to provide primary care, host in-patients, and disseminate health and nutrition-based information to communities, not only within the dispensaries but also within the villages themselves.
Minister of Health Emais Roberts said that he hopes such programs will not only increase health awareness, but could also create a closer relationship between the public health system and the local communities.
“There’s less than 20 thousand of us, and I think the public health system should know everyone,” Dr. Roberts said at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the three dispensaries. He followed this up by sharing an experience he had in Cuba, where he witnessed a single primary care doctor living among 1,100 people, and knowing them all by name.
The Minister stressed the need for supplying health information to local communities particularly in Palau, where many fatalities occur due to NCD’s like diabetes and heart disease. He said that, throughout 2020, Palau had seen over 150 fatalities, due to causes such as “NCD’s and careless behavior”.
“The way it is now, many times a diabetic or hypertension person stays in the community, and they think they’re fine,” said Dr. Roberts. “And then when the ambulance takes them to the hospital, you either have to cut off their leg, or they have to go through a referral, because in between nobody takes care of them.”
UNOPS Project Manager Thomas Blaich, who is overseeing the construction of the three dispensaries, conducted a nutrition seminar in August 2020 at Katey’s Garden Restaurant in Koror, consisting of a series of lectures focused on healthy exercise, nutrition, and behavioral psychology, to members of the community. Mr. Blaich noted that he has already been asked to conduct a similar seminar on Peleliu.
One 2019 study determined that close to 18% of Palau’s population suffers from diabetes, a disease often associated with obesity.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *