Survey uncovers health challenges

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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HEALTH WORK: Males were most likely to have more than 30 minutes of physical activity per day, according to the survey.

HEALTH WORK: Males were most likely to have more than 30 minutes of physical activity per day, according to the survey. (Photo: Mormon Newsroom)

A survey under the Ministry of Health’s Integrated Community Health Approach Programme (I.C.H.A.P.) has provided a community-based approach to health education, prevention, and awareness while improving the data on critical health areas. 

A total of 491 respondents took the survey. 

Of the 491 participants, 23.2 percent were more likely to report consuming more than five alcoholic beverages at a time, especially men above the age of 50. 

This is according to the 40-page I.C.H.A.P. survey report. 

This report details the findings of the survey held in April that was distributed as part of those programmes to improve health surveillance across multiple health indicators. Initially, I.C.H.A.P. was first implemented in September 2016. 

The I.C.H.A.P. was a series of health outreach programs conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2017 with various partners. 

“The Samoa Red Cross Society (S.R.C.S.), the National Health Service (N.H.S.), and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) partnered with the H.I.V., S.T.I., and T.B. National Programme and the Health Education and Promotion team at the Ministry of Health.” 

The goal of the programmes was to bring prevention education out into the communities on infectious diseases, climate change resilience, maternal and child health, sexual health, and family wellness. 

“All of these areas of health were integrated into one programme to overcome the challenges posed by cultural and religious stigma of sensitive health issues which if delivered alone would not be as effectively received by the communities. 

“Prevention and wellness messages were delivered together as a holistic approach to as a non-partisan way of uniting individuals and community structures in improving the health of villages.” 

The programme was successful and well received by participating communities, of 10 villages who participated in the program and also the prisons on Upolu. 

“The villages targeted by the second round programme were rural and had the least access to healthcare services. 

“Topics covered in this round were typhoid, malaria, hand washing hygiene, tuberculosis, H.I.V. and S.T.I.’s. 

“Due to the monitoring challenges experienced in September 2016, the I.C.H.A.P. monitoring tool was changed. 

“All respondents were given a behavioural health questionnaire as a cross-sectional assessment of health needs,” says the survey.

The results of the survey indicated that male respondents 23.2 percent were more likely to report consuming more than five alcoholic beverages at a time, especially above the age of 50. 

“Women and fa’afafine were less likely to report binge drinking 6.8 percent. 

“Tobacco Use 32.2 percent of respondents reported being a current smoker. Men had the highest smoking prevalence 37.4 percent. 

“Fa’afafine smoked more than females, 47 percent especially ages 25-29. 

“Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Recommended daily, fruit and vegetable consumptions were very low for all gender and age groups 4.7 percent of all respondents. 

“Physical activity 68.8 percent of respondents reported being physically active for at least 30 minutes per day. 

“Males were most likely to have more than 30 minutes of physical activity per day 72.7 percent, while fa’afafine was the least likely 59.4 percent. 

“Family Planning only 17.9 percent of respondents reported using family planning services. 

“Fa’afafines was more likely to report using family planning services. 

“Men and women had lower rates of family planning utilization 16.2 percent and 16.7 percent respectively. 

“The age groups of 30-34 were most likely to report current use of family planning. 

“The most common source of family planning was hospitals. 

“The H.I.V. and S.T.I. testing overall was low, only 12 percent had a test in the past six months. 

“Fa’afafine had the highest testing rates for H.I.V. out of all gender groups 20.8 percent. Testing rates were lower for men and women 9.1 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. 

“Testing rates for other S.T.I.’s was even lower than for H.I.V. among all groups in the past six months 8.7 percent. 

“Fa’afafine had the highest testing rate 16.7 percent followed by men, then women. Respondents were asked what makes it difficult to test for H.I.V.,” says the survey. 

The most common barriers reported were, not having enough money to access testing services 29.7 percent; not having enough time 24 percent and respondents they are unwilling. 

“Condom use 84.9 percent of respondents reported being sexually active 417. 

“The number of respondents reporting wearing a condom during their last sexual intercourse was very low in all groups 12 percent, though highest in fa’afafine 17.7 percent.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia