4 Mar 2016

Betel nut doco hopes to curb use in Micronesia

2:10 pm on 4 March 2016
Betelnut-stained mouth, Papua New Guinea.

Betel nut use has been linked to high rates of oral disease Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

A documentary on betel nut use in the Federated States of Micronesia has been filmed in the hope it will help curb high rates in the Pacific nation.

The World Health Organisation said betel nut was used by 65 percent of adults in some parts of the Federated States of Micronesia and 54 percent of adults in Palau.

The WHO provided technical and financial support, explaining that the documentary would be used as a tool with communities and policy-makers.

The technical officer for non-communicable diseases in Suva, Ada Moadsiria said it covered a broad range of information.

"The current prevalence rates of betel nut use, to the actual physical impacts that these substances have on health, and also about the advocacy about personal testimonies, how they've been affected by betel nut in terms of losing family members to oral cancers and stomach cancers."

Ada Moadsiria said the use of betel nut and tobacco is growing in the Pacific, and in Micronesia the two substances are chewed simultaneously, further worsening their impact.