By Elizabeth Miae
Minister for Public Enterprises and State Investments, Ben Micah has declared war on diabetes in the country. A diabetic, Micah has come out strongly against the disease that was affecting and killing about 70% of Papua New Guineans at a time when the country is experiencing an economic boom.
Micah expressed his concern during a media conference in Port Moresby yesterday when welcoming American diabetes expert Dr. Gabriel Cousens to the country.
Cousens, a world leading research scientist on diabetes, is in the nation’s capital to give lectures on diabetes treatment, prevention programs and other lifestyle diseases. He was invited by Micah to come to PNG and share his expertise on preventing diabetes.
Micah said he was concerned about how massive funds were coming into the country from major resource projects and if misused by people it could lead to unhealthy lifestyles—the major cause of the disease in the country.
He therefore invited Cousens to work with the government for a national plan on diabetes prevention and treatment. “The experience of Nauru is one we must not repeat. Millions of mina they received from their 50 years of mining phosphate has seen Nauru having the highest rate of blindness, cancer, heart and kidney diseases due to diabetes,” the minister said. “This is a sad story and a paradox to economic development.”
“We must plan to avoid this as we embark on massive economic development that will see substantial funds on our hands and as we see lifestyle changes coming in.”
Micah told journalists that he did not really understand the disease when he was first diagnosed with type B diabetes in 2009 until he sought advice from former health minister and Anglimp-South Waghi MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham on Cousens’ programs.
“This is the biggest killer and it’s worse than HIV/AIDS but nothing has been done to address this. I’m a living testimony to this and I want to fight diabetes. I want to defeat diabetes and defeat death.”
Micah has urged people to seriously invest their time and money on their health. Cousens praised the minister for taking the lead at the national level adding that diabetes can be prevented and healed at any age.
“Some of our patients are in their 90s but through our programs they have been able to prevent and reverse their conditions.”
Cousens said if people stopped eating too much food that contained white sugar and white flour, diabetes could be prevented. He will give a public lecture on curing diabetes at Sir John Guise stadium tomorrow.