29 Jun MOH SUPPORTS THE JAMAICA ENERGY PARTNERS HEALTH AND WELLNESS FAIR
Kingston, Jamaica, Tuesday, June 6, 2017: The Jamaica Energy Partners (JEP) hosted its third annual Health and Wellness Fair at the Old Harbour Bay Primary School on Saturday, June 3. Over 300 residents and community members befitted from a variety of free medical services. These services included vision screening, blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol checks, dental services, child immunizations, pap smears, breast examinations, medical examinations and HIV and STI tests as well as the provision of medication.
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have been on the rise among Jamaicans over the past three decades, accounting for 70 percent of deaths, according to the Ministry of Health. Approximately 25 percent of Jamaicans between the ages of 15-74 years have hypertension while a further 8% suffer from diabetes. JEP’s Health and Wellness Fair, therefore, also focused its efforts on educating residents about the importance of a healthy lifestyle in disease prevention.
Dr. Tamu Davidson, Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries Prevention Unit at the Ministry of Health attended and delivered an address during the Health Fair.
“Certainly NCDs are the major killer in Jamaica today. We therefore, see this Health Fair implemented by Jamaica Energy Partners as supporting our efforts to provide resources to promote health and wellness and to talk about prevention and secondary prevention including screening and early identification of persons who may have an NCD, so they can get into a programme to address the problem,” noted Dr. Davidson.
She continued: “The Ministry of Health is pushing to get our population to address NCDs, as almost 80% of cases of diabetes, heart attacks and stroke and at least 40% of cancers can be prevented by addressing four risk factors with respect to our lifestyle. These include physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and abuse of alcohol. The Ministry of Health is without hesitation supporting this initiative by JEP as a way to tackle the problem and to connect and reconnect with the communities and to improve community awareness and capacity building.”
Wayne McKenzie, President and CEO of JEP and affiliate company, West Kingston Power Partners, highlighted the need for accessibility to healthcare among low and middle income households:
“We at JEP recognize that there is limited access to healthcare for residents as some cannot manage the financial burden of regular doctor’s visits. We also acknowledge the social and economic value of a healthy population and strive to provide community members with these much needed services. The health of our population begins at the community level and we hope to make a meaningful contribution in this regard, through our Health and Wellness Fair,” he said.
Residents were served by a cadre of volunteers, including medical students who have received scholarships from the company, twenty volunteers with the Jamaica Outreach Ministries including two dentists and a pharmacist, dental hygienists, volunteers from the Diabetes Association of Jamaica and JEP staff members. Non medical partners included Sagicor, VMBS, PICA, Registrar General’s Department, NCDA, NHF and the Jamaica Fire Brigade.
Approximately 78 residents received general medicals; 116 received dental services; 62 received pap smears, HIV and urine tests and 100 persons received cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure tests and vision screening. The Health Fair was open and free to all residents of the Old Harbour Bay community and its environs.