The Abaco District of the Department of Public Health put on their first family wellness day and health fair under the theme “Let’s Get Well Abaco” on Saturday, November 10.
Department of Public Health Administrator, Charlene Bain, spoke to the crowd about taking advantage of the health services available to all Bahamians and encouraged Abaconians to come together as a community and form a health council to address the local health related needs. She also gave statistics on health concerns for Abaco.
They had games for young and old alike, including a series of egg and spoon races which featured children and adults, as well as a backyard gardening demonstration by Lenny Etienne who showed onlookers how to get the most out of banana, sugar cane and sweet potato plantings.
Throughout the day a variety of talks and demonstrations were given on different topics including healthy lifestyle tips, using herbal medicine safely, controlling diabetes, growing vegetables naturally, weight loss tips, aerobic fitness and managing hypertension.
Senior Public Health Nutritionist offered individualized nutritional advice based upon personal preferences.
The Health Fair also provided opportunity for attendees to get certain health parameters checked free of charge like blood pressure, weight, blood glucose level and body mass index (BMI) as well as HIV/AIDS testing. The HIV and AIDS Research Center (from the Ministry of Health) provided the HIV/AIDS testing free of charge and confidential.
Shanishka Bain-Cambridge, Coordinator and Committee Chairperson for the event, said that as a part of the national health strategic plan which encompasses the entire Bahamas one of the goals of the Health Fair is to enhance the health care related services available within the communities of The Bahamas
“We want to encourage the partnership between the public and private sectors as well in promoting health and wellness in the community,” she said.
Ms. Bain-Cambridge said the Department of Public Health made an effort to involve a variety of community stakeholders which included different health care institutions, clinics, non-profit organizations, pharmacies, Department of Education and schools, agricultural groups, police, banks and insurance companies
In The Bahamas in general, the rates of chronic lifestyle diseases are accelerating and the leading cause of death in The Bahamas is Heart Disease.
“The purpose of the event was to promote health supportive behaviours within the community,” she said. “So they want to promote the health supportive behaviours and to decrease behaviours the lead to chronic disease.”
She encouraged the general public, whether they attended the Health Fair or not, to come to the clinic and receive individualized health tips and advice.