The Ministry of Health and the Environment will be hosting a Health Hair on Thursday 15th October 2015, under the theme “Pathway To Better Health”The event will take place on Redcliffe Street- between Corn Alley and Market Streets.
Participants will be drawn from various divisions within the Ministry of Health as well as outside agencies.
These include the Health Education Unit, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Zero Hunger Challenge initiative, the American University Antigua (AUA), the Substance Abuse Prevention Division, the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS), Veggie World Health Foods and the Adventist Book Store.
Nutritionists, nurses and other healthcare providers will on hand to conduct counseling and screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and Body Mass Index (BMI).
Among the objectives of the Health Fair is to reduce the prevalence of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCD’s) with the view of subsequent reduction in morbidity, mortality and associated economic costs.
It is also designed to determine the nutritional status of the participants and provide appropriate nutrition education and counseling for dietary modification and lifestyle changes.
Participants will also be sensitized on the importance of food label reading, which will empower them to make healthy food choices that are low in sodium, sugars, fats and oils.
According to Healthcare professionals, Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCD’s) are the leading causes of death and disability in the world, not excluding Antigua and Barbuda.
The term Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases refers to a group of conditions that are not mainly caused by an acute infection.
They can result in long-term macro and micro vascular health complications which often create the need for long-term treatment and care which can be very costly.
These conditions include Cancers, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus and Chronic Lung Disease.
Many of these diseases can be prevented by reducing common risk factors such as tobacco use, harmful alcohol use and unhealthy diets.
Head of the newly formed Wellness Committee and Focal Point Coordinator within the Ministry of Health Valarie Williams stated, “People need to look closely on their lifestyles and also at the socio economic costs of managing these diseases.”
The Ministry of Health and the Environment continues to expand its annual budget to meet the high cost of managing Non Communicable Diseases (NCD’s).
Research has shown that approximately 15 million dollars is spent in Antigua annually on treatment for cancers, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.
The Ministry is hoping that the Health Fair will be a useful tool to sensitize the general public about the correlation of lifestyle changes and reduction in NCD’s.