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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Families benefit in Health Carnival

6 May 2024


PENAMPANG: Health carnivals are instrumental in promoting positive youth development by providing valuable information, fostering strong developmental relationships, improving personal safety, diminishing risky behaviors, and creating an environment for youth to thrive, grow, and excel.

Penampang Member of Parliament Datuk Ewon Benedick in his launching speech at the Penampang District Adolescent Health Carnival 2024 and the Care4U Friendly Adolescent Clinic, today said it is important for all to recognise that adolescents are valuable assets for the future.

“Through various programmes and strategies formulated to improve their health, as implemented today, we can provide a solid foundation for national development,” he said, adding that through various programmes and strategies formulated to improve their health, as implemented today, they can provide a solid foundation for national development.

According to him, the adolescent group is defined as a population aged between 10 and 19 years. It can be categorized into three age ranges: early adolescence (10-14 years), middle adolescence (15-17 years), and late adolescence (18-19 years).

Sabah is one of the three states in Malaysia with the highest population under the age of 18, specifically, in the Penampang district, the adolescent population is around 25,000, which accounts for 12.95% of the total population in the district.

“The adolescent stage is a period of learning and is often associated with taking risks. However, the outcomes of risk-taking behavior during adolescence can be either constructive or destructive. Most of the behaviors acquired during this stage are influenced by the social environment and tend to persist throughout life,” Ewon, who is also the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDC) said.

These behaviours can lead to various problems, not only in the short term but also in the long term, indirectly impacting the well-being of future generations, he shared.

“In 2022, the National Health and Morbidity Survey was conducted to examine the health status of adolescents from various aspects, including nutrition status, behavioral factors such as drug use, tobacco and alcohol consumption, sexual behavior, mental health status, and protective factors.”

“The study revealed that in terms of nutrition and physical activity, 33% of adolescents experienced overweight or obesity problems, with 80% of them not practicing balanced nutrition by consuming insufficient fruits and vegetables, and 80% also being physically inactive.”

He said tobacco use, especially the use of electronic cigarettes or vape, is a chronic problem, with the prevalence increasing from 9.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2022, with 23.3% being males and 6.2% being females.

Drug and alcohol consumption are also serious issues, with 106,000 adolescents in Malaysia having used drugs at least once in their lifetime, and 20% of adolescents having consumed alcohol in the past, with 65% of them trying alcohol before the age of 14.

Considering these developments and the importance of specialized healthcare for adolescents, the Adolescent Health Service was introduced, followed by the National Adolescent Health Policy in 2001, he said.

“The aim is to encourage and ensure the development of adolescents, making them aware of their responsibility for their own health and empowering them with knowledge and skills to adopt healthy behaviors through active participation. Several strategies have been formulated to implement the National Adolescent Health Policy, including promoting health awareness through the integration of individual and community actions to help adolescents make wise decisions, develop risk management skills, adopt healthy and responsible lifestyles, and create a supportive environment for adolescent health.

Strong cooperation and networking among government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and peer leaders are crucial through encouragement and community support activities.

All of these efforts align with the implementation of a carnival with the theme "Healthy Adolescents, National Aspiration," aimed at improving the quality of adolescent health, he said.

The event was supported by Yayasan Bank Rakyat.

Also present during the event were Datuk Philip Lasimbang Chairman of Yayasan Bank Rakyat, Dr. Maria Suleiman Deputy Director of State Health Public Health Division, Dr. Suhaila Osman Chief Assistant Director of Family Health Development Sector, Noemi Dyena Johntren, Assistant District Officer, Administration representing the District Officer and Dr. Nurul Akmanidar Zainuddin who represented the Head of Penampang Health Clinic.


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