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Northern Marianas College nursing students Ninfa Rabago and Joanne Samson recently had the opportunity to represent the CNMI in the Pacific Non-Communicable Disease Youth Ambassadors Regional Workshop held in New Caledonia.

The workshop, held from February 27 to March 1, 2024, by the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission), aimed to collaborate with youth ambassadors from across the Pacific region to discuss improving health and wellbeing and addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Teams from various islands, including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia, presented their projects and exchanged methods for preventing NCDs within their communities. 

"My team and I had previously implemented a project in 2023, focusing on healthy eating and nutrition," Rabago explained.

"For our new project, our team wanted to focus on one specific Non-Communicable Disease: Hypertension. The specificity of our project stems from statistics regarding hypertension in the CNMI." 

This inspired their team to focus on salt consumption, a known risk factor for hypertension.

They plan to collaborate with the CNMI Public School System and implement their project in Fall 2024.\

Samson noted, "We learned to develop more innovative solutions facilitating meaningful health interventions and behavior change initiatives tailored to our specific community."

Samson and Rabago found this experience valuable for their nursing education and future careers as Registered Nurses (RNs), enabling them to promote healthy behaviors and address current health problems in our island communities.

"Therefore, I am proud to be part of our team, CNMI PYA, where I can contribute to developing solutions that promote health and well-being, empower individuals to make healthier choices, and ultimately improve health outcomes for those affected by NCDs," expressed Samson.

"The burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in the CNMI has persisted for far too long," said Rabago. "However, the prevalence of NCDs is a problem that we can all solve together."