By Lori Lyn Lirio
COMMONWEALTH of Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph D.L.G. Torres recently pleaded guilty “of not taking care of his health,” it was only learned yesterday.
According to reports, Torres made his plea last as June 15 when he signed a proclamation designating June 17-23, 2018 as Men’s Health Week. His admission of guilt and proclamation signing was witnessed by members of the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority.
“How many in this room has gone out to check your health or has done testing for heart disease, cancer, or diabetes in the last six months or for the last two years?” the governor asked the more than 20 men present at the CHCC conference room, where the proclamation signing was held.
Only four men raised their hands in reply to the governor’s inquiry.
“I think we are all guilty in terms of taking care of our health. I am guilty as well. I should start taking care of my health, then I can encourage everyone else,” he said, adding “it is important to take care of our health because at the end of the day it is our family that will get hurt if we leave earlier.”
Public Health director Margaret Aldan said it is their first time to do the Men’s Health Week.
“We will start promotion of healthy habits among men,” Aldan said, adding that the activities during Men’s Health Week will focus on educating the community on a broad range of men’s health issues, including heart disease, diabetes and prostate, testicular and colon cancer.
The proclamation stated that the non-communicable disease such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading cause of death for men in the CNMI.
Mother and Child Health Bureau administrator Heather Pangelinan said the proclamation is a jump start for the initiatives in trying to connect members of the community, including men, to preventative health services, health screening and information for healthy lifestyle.
She said these steps will contribute to community reduction in the number of non-communicable disease cases in the CNMI.
“This week is a reminder for them to take a step to be healthier and they don’t have to do it alone. Whether it is your husband, dad, or brother, we can all support each other to take healthy steps to keep our body healthier and live longer and ultimately to have a healthy CNMI community,” Pangelinan said.
The National Men’s Health Network worked with US Congress to develop National Men’s Health Week as a special campaign to help educate men, boys and their families about the importance of positive health attitudes and preventative health practices.
“Educating the public and health care providers about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and early detection of male health problems will result in the reduction of mortality. Men who are educated about the value of preventative health will be more likely to participate in health screenings,” stated in the proclamation.