The Public Health Ministry on Wednesday observed World Health Day 2016 with a health fair at the Enmore PolyClinic, on the East Coast of Demerara, where focus was placed on tackling persons living with diabetes.
At the fair, visitors were educated on their general health; however, emphasis was placed on tackling diabetes, as well as coping with the disease. A number of doctors, as well as persons who suffer with diabetes gave their experiences on dealing and living with diabetes. Dr Wilson Jordan of the Georgetown Public Hospital told the gathering that a number of his relatives suffer from diabetes. He said this forced him to take better care of himself, but even so, he too is diabetic.
“I’d like to say to all the patients here today (Wednesday) that you too can control this chronic disease. It’s a killer and we need to be careful with it. We need to be careful as quite a large number of people die worldwide with diabetes. We have to take control of it or it will take control of us,” he stated.
A section of the gathering at the health fair
Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation Forbes Mellville, reflected on the theme of World Health Day and its importance to diabetics. “World Health day is the birth anniversary of the World Health Organisation since its founding in 1948. The theme for World Health Day is ‘Step up. Beat Diabetes’…and it provides the opportunity to focus our attention then on the prevention and control of diabetes as to reduce the amount of persons affected by this non-communicable disease,” he explained.
He further related that over 350 million persons worldwide suffer with diabetes, saying “diabetes affects persons from all walks of life”. He explained that early detection and treatment, along with health policies are key in the prevention of acquiring the chronic disease. Educating the gathering on the seriousness of the disease, a doctor explained that it is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. There are three major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes which is the most frequent among children and adolescents; type 2 diabetes which is the most frequent among adults and is linked to obesity or being overweight, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition; and gestational diabetes which is a complication of pregnancy that affects an estimated 10 per cent of pregnancies globally.
Meanwhile, other organisations at the event took the opportunity to educate those present at the fair about their general mental, physical and sexual health needs. June Ann Taylor, a representative of the National Milling Company of Guyana Inc (NAMILCO), explained that the organisation saw it fit to participate in the health fair as to encourage persons to eat healthily so as to maintain a healthy body. This she related could be possible by using some of the products that the company offers to the health conscious. Melanie Saul of the Vector Control Department also related that as the number of mosquito borne diseases increases, it is imperative that persons take precautionary measure to prevent infection. “We’re asking persons to dispose of their garbage in a proper and professional manner,” she stated, adding that garbage and stagnant water can be a breeding ground for the mosquitoes that carry diseases including Malaria and the Zika Virus.
Naitram Parsram, a HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Councillor of the EnmorePolyClinic also took the opportunity to inform persons about their sexual health. Michelle Nurse of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association was also present to educate persons about their sexual and reproductive health, including family planning and safe sex. Residents of Enmore and surrounding communities lauded the hosting of the fair which saw many persons leaving with invaluable information about their wellbeing.