(SKNIS): The staff of the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts will undertake its first Sneaker Day on Thursday, September 15, when employees in that ministry will wear sneakers to work as part of the commemoration of Caribbean Wellness Week.
Caribbean Wellness Day is observed annually to mark September 15, 2007 when the landmark Summit on Chronic Diseases was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM Heads of Government established Caribbean Wellness Day and made the decision to develop a united approach in the fight against the epidemic of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs). Starting 2008, Caribbean Wellness Day was commemorated on the second Saturday of September. Locally, residents were encourage to “Walk a Mile” another Ministry of Health event that saw residents walking, jogging or cycling for at least a mile along a 10 mile multi-zone route that began in Tabernacle and Sandy Point at the same time, both ending in Basseterre. This year, additional activities continue under the banner of Wellness Week that is being acknowledged from September 12.
The Ministry of Health’s Sneaker Day event is being held under the theme “Make Every Step Count Toward a Healthy Lifestyle” that was first used by the Ministry as a subtheme for World AIDS Day 2015. The objective of the day is to encourage health workers to incorporate physical activity into some aspect of their day. Persons will therefore be encouraged to walk instead of drive and persons who have sedentary jobs, including those that involve sitting at a desk all day, will be encouraged to get up and move around. It was explained that oftentimes persons who work in office environments wear shoes that limit movement, so by wearing sneakers workers will feel more free to move around.
Last week in Nevis, the Ministry of Health encouraged all residents to took part in a national Sneaker Day.
Another Caribbean Wellness Week activity undertaken by the St. Kitts Ministry of Health is screenings for employees of the Parks and Beaches Department, the Environmental Health Department and Skills Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP) workers. Initially set for September 14 and 15, the event had to be rescheduled to September 21 and 22 due to clashes with Independence-related activities. These health checks will take place in the parking lot of the Basseterre Health Centre and will include screening for HIV, Hypertension, diabetes and Body Mass Index calculations to determine if one is overweight or not. Hepatitis B vaccinations will also be given. Appointments will be also be made for the workers to have pap smears, Rectal Digital Examination (RDE), which is a prostate test, and nutrition counselling in an effort to encourage the maintenance of good health.