The Adventist Church in Central Jamaica partnered with the Ministry of Health in Clarendon to help with the Ministry’s drive to educate the public on dengue during a Health Expo in May Pen on January 20, 2019.
On January 3, 2019, at 123 reported cases, the Ministry of Health declared that there is a dengue outbreak in Jamaica. According to news reports, there have been 16 reported deaths, resulting from dengue fever.
Therefore, when the church approached the Clarendon Health Department, inviting their partnership for Health Expo in the parish, dengue education was high on the agenda for the Ministry of Health.
During a march, the day before, on Sabbath, January 19, 2019, members of the church and a team from the Ministry of Health distributed over 1,500 flyers with dengue-related information.
On the day of the expo, the Health Department had a booth set up to give practical information on dengue prevention and they also gave a 20-minute presentation to the over 200 patrons who stopped by the Health Expo. The presentation was done by Mrs. Linnees Green-Baker, Chief Public Health Inspector, Clarendon Health Services.
Mrs. Green-Baker highlighted that it doesn’t take much water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs in. She said a container as small as a bottle cover can hosts up to 100 eggs. She, therefore, encouraged the patrons to ensure that all possible water-storage containers should be removed from their residents to prevent breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Dr. Kimberly Scarlet-Campbell, Clarendon Medical Officer of health said she endorses all the tenets of the Seventh-day Adventist health philosophy and is happy for what the church is doing to promote healthy living. She said that she was grateful for the partnership in hosting the expo and for helping to promote the issues relating to dengue.
During the expo, the Clarendon Health Department also did several free health checks, including HIV testing (37), and pap smears (23). Additionally, 34 persons were trained and did the test to receive their food handlers permits on location.
The Parish Nutritionist for Clarendon, Debbie Ottey-Golding did a presentation on “Nutrition and Meal Preparation”. She also treated the patrons to a sample of some healthy meals, including, “Peas Punch” and “Potato Casserole”.
Through the efforts of the CJC’s Medical Missionaries and Adventist Health Professionals from Clarendon and St. Catherine, 8 stations were set up for screening and education on what the Seventh-day Adventist Church call the eight laws of health. These include Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust in God (N.E.W.S.T.A.R.T.).
Services offered at the various stations, include BMI calculations, blood pressure checks, glucose tests, fitness checks, anti-stress massage, counselling and a computerized health age test. Before leaving the final station, each person received information on personalized recommended lifestyle changes to achieve optimum health.
The third and final presentation of the day focused on weight management/control. Mrs. Deon Henry, Medical Missions Coordinator of CJC and a trained Nutritionist did the presentation. Mrs. Henry shared that the best approach to weight loss is not to go on a diet, but to reduce calorie intake and at least 1 hour of daily exercise.
The CJC Bible School was also present to distribute free books, magazines and Bible Study Guides. Bible School Coordinator of CJC, Elder Delroy Ferguson reported that 49 persons registered for and received free Bible Study Guides.
Health Ministries Director of CJC, Pastor Damian Chambers said that the Community Health Expo in May Pen was very successful. “We believe that this effort impacted Clarendon and it can only bear fruit in positive life-changing experiences”, he said.
Pastor Chambers expressed thanks to the Ministry of Health for their support and partnership, the administrators of CJC, the May Pen, Palmers Cross, Denbigh and Halse Hall districts of churches for their involvement. He also thanked the organizing committee and volunteers, made up of Adventist Health Professionals and Medical Missionaries from Clarendon and St. Catherine.
The Health Expo in Clarendon is part of the health initiatives planned for Mission Project 2019.