By: PNG Business News July 04, 2022

Photo: TB HEO and No Buai Day campaign leader Teresa Koratsi.

World No Buai Day is Friday October 7.  As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Businesses for Health is encouraging people who want to end their chewing habit to sign up for their “World No Buai Day” campaign. 

COVID-19 has disrupted work and social lives in so many ways. It’s also had some unexpected consequences.  Whilst the infection control benefits of mask wearing are well known, in PNG masks have enabled people to hide their workday chewing.  With fewer mask wearing requirements in place, we are kicking off our campaign to get the workers of PNG to consider the health and financial costs of chewing buai. 

We have set the campaign to run over seven fortnights or 96 days.  This gives chewers time to think, analyse, plan, and to find colleagues and friends to support them in reducing their chewing habit.  B4H understands that chewing is part of many people’s usual routines, so planning is required if people are going to be successful in reducing their dependency on PNG’s favourite addictive drug – betel nut!

B4H Campaign leader and participant TB HEO  Teresa said “the sooner people reduce their chewing, the better it is for their health.  But people we also recognise that chewing is an addiction and it’s not something they can successfully achieve without talking to family, friends, and colleagues. Addicts need encouragement or friends to join them in the campaign.”

The campaign is structured so quitters like me can think and plan, before cutting back.  Its only a good idea to make announcements on social media about quitting buai chewing during the working week, when we have gathered support and carefully analysed the size and scope of the challenge.  I am being encouraged and rewarded by my colleagues, but I need to know my family and friends will help me avoid situations where everyone else is chewing.  We need to be surrounded by people who recognise that chewing is associated with so many threats to long-term health and well-being.  My parents were health workers, I grew up knowing chewing was unhealthy and unacceptable at work.  I know chewing is associated with diseases like TB that thrive when the immune system is put under pressure.  I also know I am addicted and COVID has put us all under so much strain. When I was wearing a mask 24/7 it was easy for me to sneak in some extra chewing without my colleagues knowing. Making October 7 my quit date is easier than starting on January 1 when we are all holidays,” says HEO Teresa.

“At Businesses for Health I train people in early case finding for Tuberculosis and support people to kind to people terrified by a diagnosis of TB or HIV.  In supporting people with TB or HIV we use care, kindness, and support to help people to achieve better treatment compliance, and it reduces fear.  We recommending people wanting to quit chewing use the same strategies. On B4H campaign Chew Challenge chart we have set some challenges. We are offering to send people reminders and notes of support. Best of all the campaign end date is well before Christmas holidays,” said Teresa.

The Campaign specifically states we are aiming to quit workweek chewing and is not advocating for a global lifetime buai ban.  It would be disrespectful and foolish to expect people not to chew at haus krais or other events at which chewing maybe an ancient tradition.  We also want people to learn to manage their habit, keep on trying and go gentle on themselves. We recommend registering with the B4H campaign to get reminders and encouragement along the way to NOT chewing in the working week by World No Buai Day,” said Dr Clarke B4H project manager.


A poster and resource pack for participants and their supporters is available at  .  In the pack, is a chewing diary, a challenge chart to mark off each day of the campaign.  People who register for the campaign are invited to contribute stories about their successes and challenges to our Facebook page@B4HTB.

Businesses for Health is PNG not for profit association. The PNG team is 100% supported by PNG’s private sector supporters who are working to reduce the burden of TB deaths and disease on businesses, their employees, and their families.  In 2022, Dr Clarke’s time to PNG is supported by the Global Fund for TB/HIV and Malaria.

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