‘We heart U’: health experts call on Solomon Islanders to look after their hearts

Hearts of gold: health professionals show off their heart-health messages

It is called “the busy organ”.

And according to health experts, far too many Solomon Islanders are making their busy organ, the heart, work overtime.

Today marks World Heart Day, and SIBC hosted a group of health experts for a special event at the studios in Rove, Honiara, to mark the occasion.

“You probably know someone who has died of cardiovascular disease,” Ministry of Health non-communicable diseases (NCD) director Dr Geoffrey Kenilorea said during his keynote address today.

“And there has been an alarming increase of the disease in the Solomon Islands.”

An estimated two out three Solomon Islanders die of an NCD and cardiovascular disease is estimated to make up 20 per cent of all deaths in the Solomon Islands.

In addition 20 per cent of Solomon Islander children have rheumatic heart disease.

World Health Organisation NCD technical lead Dr Albert Domingo, NRH senior health promotion officer Barbara Pwaisiho, Australian volunteer and World Health Organisation NCD representative April Batchelor and Ministry of Health NCD director Dr Geoffrey Kenilorea

Dr Kenilorea said the prevention of cardiovascular disease was something all Solomon Islanders needed to take on.

“We need to stem the tide,” he said. “And the responsibility is on all of us.”

This was backed up by World Health Organisation NCD technical lead Dr Albert Domingo who called on Solomon Islanders to “make a few simple changes” to improve their health and help prevent the disease.

“Habits such as alcohol and smoking are a major cause of this problem,” he said. “And stopping smoking is one of the first steps to make.

“Staying active and having a healthy diet is also something we can do to help prevent this disease.”

The Zumba class in action

Those who attended today’s event at SIBC walked the walk, and participated in a Zumba class to showcase the “staying active” element.

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