Papua New Guinea (PNG) and South Western Pacific Region

This whole region suffers from both high rates of diabetes and mortality from it. Nauru has over 60% incidence of diabetes, perhaps the highest rate of any nation in the world. PNG is estimated to around a 45% incidence of type-2  diabetes. American Samoa has over 52% incidence of diabetes for men and 42% for women. The average in Tokelau is around 44%; the Marshal Islands are 41%; FSM Pohnpei is 32%. The death rates from diabetes are also high as general diabetes management is poor. Physical activity is low and obesity is high. In some islands such as with the American Samoa, Nauru, and Tokelau obesity is over 70%. Medical personnel resources are generally low such as in PNG with only a handful of diabetes-trained nurse practitioners and no resident experts in diabetes or hospital-based dietitians. What is missing in all these areas is a national and regional plan to address diabetes; diabetes prevention awareness and educational materials; training of diabetes professionals and semi- professionals; and adequate screening and prevalence data. In PNG it is officially estimated that 97% of the diabetics are undiagnosed. Our total program, even at a seed level, will be an amazing boon to this region.

After addressing the parliament council of PNG, I have been specifically invited by the Prime Minister and his leading Ministers to come to PNG to help them set up a program. In this context I have met with the former Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil, as well as the assistant Prime Minister; the former minister for Public Enterprises and State Investments, Ben Micah; the minister of health and secretary for Health, as well as been interviewed on national TV and Radio, have addressed the members of parliament, as well as addressed the major leaders of the business community. I have also given a public talk to approximately 1500 people in Port Moresby. The PNG government is quite enthusiastic about helping to finance a continuation of our diabetes prevention and treatment program in PNG after my program has paved the way. This is an optimal scenario for all my programs. Every governmental sector strongly supported my program’s plan to build diabetes prevention educational centers throughout the Southwest Pacific Islands with Papua New Guinea as the center. Part of their enthusiasm is based on their awareness that with at least 45% of the PNG population has diabetes and 90% has pre-diabetes which includes many of the government and business leaders with active diabetes. With this background they directly understand their country’s future is a stake. Because of tremendous oil, gas, and gold resources, PNG is becoming among the wealthiest countries in the world and they do not want to follow in the tragic example of Nauru which had great wealth from phosphate mining and switched to the “advanced” Western diet of white sugar, white flour, and junk food; and when the mining ran out, were left with perhaps the highest rate of diabetes in the world, and thus finding themselves in both monetary and health bankruptcy.

PNG has 22 Provinces and 4 major regions, which are Port Moresby, Lae (the second biggest city), Mt Hagen, (the third biggest city), and Rabaul (the Island region). The plan is to have four major diabetes prevention training, teaching, and outreach centers with one in each region. The idea is to create a national movement with trained volunteers to be the educators. From these centers with the volunteers, the much-needed diabetes screening programs would be launched to access the actual demographics of the problem. A diabetes treatment center would be set up in Port Moresby for people from all of PNG and all the Islands to come for treatment. Micro- business financed organic veganic farming programs would be created in the 22 Provinces to supply the high quality local organic food needed for the prevention of diabetes and the creation of good health for the whole nation. A key part of the success is national education to prevent diabetes as well as creating a “national will” to save the country from the scourge of diabetes including “sin taxes “ on white sugar and junk food and pressure on the CEO’s and government leaders to be the leading health examples.

The former Minister of Health came to participate in my 21-day diabetes recovery program at the Tree of Life Center US in Arizona and is quite enthusiastic to apply our total holistic community development and micro-business program approach to Papua New Guinea and all the surrounding islands in time. He has become the “health guru” for the governmental leaders and has the support of a wide spectrum of government leaders and businessmen to make this happen. Along with Liberia, PNG has the best pre-conditions on all levels for creating a total and successful national program. A success in the country rated as the worst for the diabetes pandemic in the world will give a powerful message of what can be done in larger nations.