| Faza Suraj |
PREVENTION is better than cure.
Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mohd Yusof, Minister of Health, at ‘Majlis Forum Sempena Kempen Kebangsaan Membanteras Penyakit-Penyakit Tidak Berjangkit Bagi Daerah Belait’ yesterday urged the public to combat non-communicable diseases.
Moderated by Dr Haji Zainal Ariffin bin Haji Yahya, General Director at the Ministry of Health, the forum was an initiative of the ministry to educate the public on various ways to reduce the risk of developing diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and obesity, among others.
The event held at Kuala Belait Conference Hall was themed ‘Act now: Health is our responsibility’, and had four guest speakers covering on different topics. It saw more than 450 individuals attending – around 150 were students in the Belait District.
The first speaker of the panel was Professor Madya Dr Haji Md Syafiq bin Abdullah, an Oncology Consultant from the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS), who discussed the topic of ‘Appreciate Tobacco Free Environment’, highlighting dangers of smoking as well as the benefits of cigarette-free lifestyle.
Professor Madya also touched on third-hand smoking, which is to expose individuals to the remnants of tobacco smoke stuck on surfaces such as walls, floors and furniture.
Dayang Hajah Roseyati binti Dato Paduka Haji Yaakub, a Senior Nutrition Officer from the Health Services Department, who spoke on ‘Read Food Labels, Make Smart Choices’ where she stressed the importance of identifying ingredients and nutritional values of food because some ingredients, when indulged in excess, may lead to the abovementioned diseases.
“Observing food intake should come hand in hand with physical activities,” said Dr Sofian bin Dato Paduka Haji Johar, a Cardiology Consultant at RIPAS hospital during his presentation on ‘Physical Activities as a Culture in Life’. He also listed the benefits of doing exercises as preventive measures against health problems.
The last speaker, Dr Hajah Rafidah binti Haji Gharif, Acting Consultant of Fundamental Care Services from the Health Services Department, focused on medication of the non-communicable diseases in his talk, ‘Know Your Medicine and Control Your Illness’.
The Minister of Health highlighted that it is vital for the public especially students to be educated at an early stage on communicable diseases and on ways to prevent them to build a healthy community.
“The concept of prevention if practised since young and continuously will help control and reduce non-communicable diseases in the Sultanate, creating a more active and healthy community that will contribute to a more steady economy in the future,” he said.
Regarding the use of e-cigarettes, the minister said one should understand that the risks are the same as smoking real cigarettes, which may cause cancer or other diseases.
The minister also touched on the recent issue of the banning of Gala and Granny Smith apples, which were reported by US authorities to be contaminated with Listerosis bacteria. In collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Adanan said preventive measures and controls have been taken.
“For the time being, we have ordered the importers to withdraw the product and not to allow them to be sold to the public.” The public will be informed once the product is safe for consumption, he said.
The event ended with the minister presenting a token of appreciation to the moderator and panel members.
Also present were the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, deputy permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Health, Belait District officer, Legislative Council members, senior special duties officers, head directors, senior officers and staff of the Ministry of Health.