Paulina Quintao – According to data generated from the Health in Family (Saude na Familia (SnF) national program of home visits, 92% of 206,123 families in Timor-Leste present risk factors that may result in disease.
Through the SnF home visits, health professionals have been classifying visited families into four categories of families, the first category being a healthy family, the second category a family with risk factors of disease, the third group of families with illnesses, and the fourth category of families with one or more member living with a disability.
According to the Director General for Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Odete Viegas, reality shows that families in category 1, corresponding to being health are only seven percent (7%) of all families whiles families at risk of disease compose 92% of the total.
She added that the percentage is staggering because of people's life styles, with many smokers, drinking alcohol, drinking coffee and chewing beetle nut.
"These statistics highlight the need for greater health promotion to our communities to lower their risk factors, otherwise in future, there will be many more sick people, suffering from hypertension, heart disease and diabetes," she said in Becora, Dili.
She added that health professionals will sit with community leaders to make micro-plans on what intervention and prevention measures are possible.
Suku Chief of Caicoli Hipolito Marques Sarmento appreciated the national program Health in the Family (SnF) and is ready to collaborate with health professionals to disseminate health information in his community.
"As local authority, we are ready to go into the community and raise awareness for them to change their behaviour and prevent getting sick," he said.
He added that health professional have a duty to deliver health and information to the community, but prevention of illness is up to each individual to do hers or his best to not fall sick.