**Administrator’s note: As a regular reader of the Tia Belau Op/Ed page (a newspaper I consider to have the best op/ed page of any local paper by the way) I couldn’t help but marveled at the remarkable similarity of the two articles published in the same issue by Dr. Kuartei and Senator Asanuma. Prior to posting both articles here, I asked them if they had planned to write about the same topic, but they were just as surprised as me in the simultaneous occurrence that connected together in a meaningful way the ideas in their articles. As you will find below…
Yesterday I was asked to write an article on a woman’s perspective on cancer, specifically breast and cervical cancer. This got me thinking; how much about this disease is known in the local communities and if these communities knew about the free services offered at the Ministry of Health. I would love to believe the Bureau of Public Health is doing a great job in involving the community in its health fairs and informing the public about this disease, its causes, risk factors, and treatments. After all, we have all seen the many t-shirts promoting “Early Detection, is your best protection”, the towels with “Extending Hope” and let us not forget the yellow bracelets, famous cyclist, Lance Armstrong promotes with the “Livestrong” message on them. Right? Yes, it would be easy to believe the message is being heard, considering the existence of these many promotional items out there. If this is true, WHY is cancer still the leading cause of death in the Republic? Isn’t the message being heard? Should the Bureau of Public Health hold more health fairs or print more promotional items? How many more people have to die before we, as a community, an island, a nation take this deadly illness seriously?
(**Note: This article was first published in Tia Belau Newspaper and later appeared in the Bridge_List on November 24, 2002. It has since been re-posted again to the Bridge_List a few days ago, and it is worthy of reprint here as well.- Administrator)
Father Francis X. Hezel in his book titled, “The New Shape of Old Island Cultures”, discusses many social issues that are subtle but serves as markers for the gradual fading away of our values and culture. In this book Father Hezel misses one of the most critical markers of a fading culture, which is the empowerment of youths as a cultural and an economic strategy in nation building. As he writes about “family, land, gender roles, birth, marriage, death, sexuality, political authority, population and migration”, it becomes clear that the initiation of the Palauan youths toward a true ownership of the future of this country should not be a passing thought for our leadership. It must be a true commitment in harnessing active engagement and tangible investment in terms of mobilizing our youth toward such ownership, the true ownership of our future.