by Jean-Baptiste CALO
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has signed a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Health in Vanuatu in early September 2017 to support the development of health services delivery in Vanuatu.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed earlier this month between the Minister of Health, Jerome Ludvaune and a senior leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vanuatu, Honoré Tiasinmal.
Speaking at the signing of the MoA, the Minister of Health, Jerome Ludvaune emphasized the importance of having such partnership with religious organizations “as their aim to assist people with their spiritual growth and at the same time recognize the need to also improve their physical living standards”.
According to alarming health statistical reports from the South Pacific Communities provided by health authorities throughout the 14 Pacific Island Forum Countries, Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and particularly diabetes have become the main causes of death in the region. Almost 75 percent of the causes of death in the Pacific islands are due to NCDs.
Vanuatu is currently ranked 6th in the world for Diabetes Prevalence.
According to reports, 30 000 people have Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) which includes sugar diabetes (21% of the adult population.
The illness is mainly due to lifestyle factors related to what people consume and the lack of exercise.
Deaths due to diabetes are projected to rise by 50% in the next 10 years.
According to an LDS missionary assigned in the humanitarian services in Vanuatu, Elder Peter Sackley, the Pacific Area Office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has clearly announced its vision to see the Church being more involved in the Pacific island nations through its humanitarian initiatives particularly in health programs related to diabetes.
“Many good members of the church in the Pacific islands have been released from their church calling after they have had a leg or an arm amputated because of diabetes. And many have died because of that disease. That is the reason why, the Pacific Area President, Elder Vincent O. Haleck has encouraged the Church to be more involved in diabetes related health initiatives throughout the Pacific island countries”, Elder Sackley said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints has currently about 7200 members throughout Vanuatu.
The Church has engaged in many humanitarian efforts over many years in Vanuatu.
And since 2012, it has expended more than VT 163 million (VT 163 300 745) in a variety of projects. 52 % of this fund (more than VT 81 million) were spent directly related to the cyclone PAM emergency relief.
Another 33% (almost VT 54 million) was spent in the building of 336 cyclone resistant shelters for families in Efate and Tanna.
Other projects, including wheelchairs (over VT 12 million) for the community and hospitals, vaccinations (over VT1.7 million), school supplies, literacy and water supply.
The funding for all of these projects is provided by donations from individual members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the world.