Local World Health Day activities continue year-long campaign

SKNIS Photo: Non Communicable Disease Coordinator (NCDC) Ms. Petunela Edwards as Best Buy screening
SKNIS Photo: IFMSA Volunteer and Medical Student Shanique Graham at Best Buy screening
NCDC Photo: Min Marcella Liburd running at the Fitness Walk
NCDC Photo: Taiwanese Delegation walking at the Fitness Walk

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 09, 2013 (SKNIS): Events in commemoration of World Health Day 2013 have helped to build the momentum of activities geared towards the reduction of high blood pressure and the monitoring of the condition.

This is according to Non-Communicable Disease Coordinator Petrunela Edwards who told to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service that the activities held April 5, 6 and 7, were quite successful. She revealed that the blood pressure screening activities which took place outside four supermarkets in Basseterre on Friday saw a total of just under 300 persons getting their blood pressure checked outside C&C Supermarket on George St., Best Buy at Buckley’s, Rams at Bird Rock and Hosfords Valu Mart Supermarket, Wellington Road.

Ms. Edwards explained that the screenings fall under the Community Outreach Activities organized by the Non-Communicable Disease Unit. She said that over the past two years such activities have been held regularly in conjunction with the Community-Based Health Services. As such, health personnel from the Health Centres and the Hospitals have also been involved. The Non-Communicable Disease Coordinator revealed that last Friday’s screening did more than record findings.

“We are basically informing people what the blood pressure reading means, not just to check it and give it to them,” Ms. Edwards noted. “We explain systolic and diastolic [the higher reading and the lower reading]. A reading such as 120 over 80 (120/80) – what that means – it’s in the normal range. We give them the information as to what the ranges are and we inform them when they are in a pre-hypertensive state telling them when they are in a danger zone.”

The Coordinator emphasized that persons who took advantage of the screening opportunity should not take the results and advice for granted.

Windsor University Students, particularly those involved with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), have also assisted with the screening and counselling. Shanique Graham, a Medical Student, explained how she came to assist with the screening outside Best Buy Supermarket.

“I’m also a volunteer with IFMSA what we do is look for projects that we can do in the community to give back,” Ms. Graham revealed. “And as a medical student, I want to help and experience what it’s like to interact with patients and assist them with healthy choices and inform them as best as possible.”

NCDC Photo: Min Marcella Liburd accepts monetary contribution from Mrs. Isabel Tsao, wife of the Taiwanese Ambassador
NCDC Photo: Health Personnel at the World Health Day Church Service

A Fitness Walk, which took place April 6 from Caribbean Cinemas to Frigate Bay, was also said to have achieved its purpose with over 50 persons taking part including Minister of Health Honourable Marcella Liburd. Participants also included representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The Embassy also gave a monetary donation along with fruit for the concluding refreshments. A local farmer supplied fruit as well.

Last Sunday’s Service at the Basseterre Church of God was held under the theme: “Be in Good Health,” Ms. Edwards revealed. She noted that there was a special video for children pertaining to healthy eating and approximately 30 persons from the various health divisions attended including Health Ministry personnel along with Hospital, Health Centre, Public Health as well as Parks and Beaches staff. Literature pertaining to monitoring one’s blood pressure was distributed following the service.

Activities continue with monthly clinics with food handlers pertaining to reducing salt in their dishes by using natural seasonings as well as collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture to have a segment in its television programme pertaining to the same subject.

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