Health Festival in Trench Town today

Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) — Residents of Trench Town Kingston are to benefit from a Health Festival to be held at the Vin Lawrence Park, today, February 8.

The festival, which forms part of a series of events to commemorate the birthday of the late Reggae superstar, Bob Marley, will also facilitate research that will assist the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ), Community Renewal Programme (CRP), and the  Jamaica Family Planning Association (Famplan), to create a health profile for the area.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, held on

February 6, Chief Executive Officer of the Association, Saint Rachel Ustanny, highlighted that one of the strategies of Famplan for 2014, is to utilise health fairs to reach the most vulnerable in the Jamaican population.

“Famplan is very happy to join with the Community Renewal Programme to start these health fairs in communities. We do not see them as an end in terms of solving sexual and reproductive health issues within these communities, but as a beginning,” she said.

“Indirectly, these health fairs will address poverty, because we will be able to control the number of teenage pregnancies as a result of the information disseminated. It will stimulate behaviour change and in the future will improve their quality of life,” Ustanny added.

She pointed out that Jamaica has been doing very well overall with the fertility rate; however, in some of the communities, especially those that CRP has been targeting, the rates are high.

“Some mirror the 1970/80s figures, therefore it is time for low income, urban communities, to be on par with the national statistics as it relates to fertility issues. Hence, our efforts to work through outreach programmes to address some of these issues,” Ustanny explained.

She said that teenage pregnancy is another factor that has driven Famplan’s strategy to work through the outreach programmes, so that they can provide vital information to young people who may or may not be sexually active.

“The aim is to take sexual and reproductive health services to them. At the health festival we will be offering a series of tests such as HIV, pap smear, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar as well as breast examination, contraceptive services, immunization of children, pre and post natal care,”  Ustanny said.

She said that in Trench Town the uptake for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) is low, so provisions will be made to facilitate immunization of youngsters in the inner city community.

Ustanny pointed out that another health festival will be hosted in Majesty Gardens on Tuesday, February 12.

Meanwhile, Acting Programme Director for the Community Renewal Programme, Sherrian Gray, said the festival should attract everyone, from young to old, who will benefit from the services that will be provided.

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