The new Gizo Hospital in the Solomon Islands has officially declared its premises to be a no-go zone for tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use this week as part of ongoing efforts to reduce exposure to the main risk factors for non communicable diseases.
Sending a strong, positive health message
Dr Gregory Jilini, Director of Provincial Health Srvices for Western Province in the Solomon Islands said, “Gizo Hospital wants to send out a strong message to the public that tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use is harmful to good health and therefore not appropriate in a hospital, which is all about making people better.”
High rates of tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use in Solomon Islands
Tobacco, alcohol and betel nut use in Solomon Islands continues to be amongst some of the highest in the Pacific, especially among young people, and this contributes to increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, stroke, heart attack and diabetes.
Dr Tenneth Dalipanda, the Under Secretary for Health Improvement said “Tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable death and people who are nonsmokers are exposed to second-hand smoke.” Solomon Islands has one of the highest prevalence of male smoking and the fastest increase in new female and young tobacco users. Half of the women and children in the country are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
Establishing healthy environments
WHO Representative for Solomon Islands, Dr Juliet Fleischl, congratulated Gizo hospital for setting an example as the first in the country in creating a healthy setting. ”Establishing healthy environments helps people in developing positive lifestyle changes and is essential in reducing NCDs”, she said.
Meanwhile the Package of Essential NCD (PEN) Services will be implemented in health facilities across Western Province. The PEN programme strengthens primary health care services overall, by training staff and ensuring clinics have the necessary equipment and drugs to provide early detection and treatment of NCDs which will result in the reduction of NCD-related complications such as amputations, stroke and heart attacks and decrease admissions into hospital.