Diabetes situation in Saipan “quite serious” – CNMI Public Health official

By Lori Lyn Lirio

Diabetes complications affected organs. Diabetes affects nerves, kidneys, eyes, vessels, heart, brain and skin. Round info graphic. Image by strongestinworld.com

THE diabetes situation in the Commonwealth of northern Marianas is “quite serious.”

Thus said Public Health’s Medical Director Dr. Phuong Luu during an interview where she also emphasized that managing that debilitating disease is also the patient’s responsibility.

“One out of five adults in the CNMI was diagnosed with diabetes,” Dr. Luu said, citing the 2016 Hybrid Survey conducted by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidance of Non-Communicable Disease Bureau.
Luu said the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation and the Public Health have been adopting the chronic care model to better manage the health condition of people with diabetes. She said the chronic care model emphasized on team-based care.

“It means the treatment, the healthcare and managing diabetes should not just rely on doctors.”

“Fifty percent of the effort is not actually from the doctors, fifty percent of effort or even more should come from the patient,” she said, adding that patients should take personal responsibility to better manage their health.

Under the team-based care approach, Dr. Luu said all clinicians have current information about patient status.

In this way, they have easier time to track down or monitor their patients’ self-health management.

For this kind of model, she said, their challenge is communication.

“We are at CHCC and our patients need to see eye doctor in a different clinic. How would I know if my patient does go for eye exam? We have to make sure that there is actually communication so that we are aware of what is happening. We involved other team members – the nurses, the community health workers, the patient navigator, to really assess the patient and doing all components that is necessary for diabetes management,” she said.


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