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Blood protection a social responsibility

Ropate Valemei
Monday, November 19, 2012

THE protection of blood is more a social than a medical responsibility, says the Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma.

Therefore, Dr Sharma said a social response was important for an effective medical response to abnormal blood.

Dr Sharma said washing of hands, sexual practice, eating habits and regular exercises were examples of social determinants of wellness, whose responsibility lies in society and not in the Health Ministry.

"Washing of hands and drinking safe clean water is important to the management of typhoid and diarrhoea," he said.

"Safe sexual practice is important to the management of STI/HIV.

"Eating a balanced diet and reducing salt, sugars and fats, increased exercise are essential parts of effective diabetes and blood pressure control."

Dr Sharma said diabetes (high blood sugars) and hypertension (high blood pressures), as well as high blood cholesterol were three major blood conditions contributing to Fiji's illnesses, disabilities and premature deaths.

"Similarly, organisms like bacteria and viruses don't cause systemic illnesses until they enter the bloodstream.

"This is the reason why essential medicine is all about studying the blood and doing interventions so as to correct blood abnormality, communicable or non- communicable diseases."

He said central to disease control was keeping the blood normal, or keeping one's blood from being polluted by salt, sugar, fats or micro-organisms and maintaining wellness in our blood picture.

Dr Sharma said the government had put in place protection initiatives to protect society, like the Tobacco Decree, Fiji Plan of Action on Nutrition, Food Safety Act and Regulations, and on food advertising.

"These and others under development are efforts to control social determinants and so improve health.

"These initiatives need whole of society support, as without social response and social responsibility, effective medical intervention will not be able to achieve its full health potential."

"Diabetes and hypertension are socially constructed, so must be socially destroyed, and society is responsible."

Dr Sharma said social habits resulted in abnormal blood pictures which may lead to systemic disease, organ damage, and premature deaths.





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