Over 200 civilians in Montego Bay benefited from free medical services offered at the Diabetes Health Fair spearheaded by The Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay.
According to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, diabetes has steadily increased its rank in the past eleven years by 36.4% as a predominant cause of death among Jamaicans, and was last year recorded as the second leading cause of death in the country.
The prevalence of this disease among Jamaicans contributed primarily to the initiation of a project aimed at boosting awareness and educating civilians. Hosted as a health fair, its third annual staging was held on Saturday at the Montego Bay Cultural Center.
“The idea came to me because my mom passed away from diabetes and one of the things I recognized with her was that she wouldn’t talk about it, and wasn’t aware of the resources available to her. We have gathered all these resources, so people are educated on what medication is right for them, how they can adjust their diet and the necessary steps to take in managing diabetes,” shared Dorothy Brown, owner of the Be Well Consultants, LLC group which partnered with Kiwanis Club for the event.
She also highlighted a key sponsor, the National Health Fund (NHF), which hosts several health awareness campaigns across the island.
“Many persons do not know the NHF covers diabetes supplies, they don’t know that diabetes medications are covered through the NHF. They don’t know what the NHF card actually covers in relation to what kind of diseases they have and so, this fair is also to help with educating persons in that regard.”
Two primary aims of the health fair were to provide health services that are often costly for many persons to afford, and to educate people struggling with the condition on the correct lifestyle to adopt to either prevent diabetes or manage the illness.
“A lot of persons cannot afford proper health care and this event was prepared with them in mind to take full advantage of the services provided at the fair,” said Megan Mollison, president of Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay.
Services provided at the health fair included cholesterol and glucose checks, blood pressure checks, eye screening and rapid HIV testing. Agencies such as the Diabetic Association of Jamaica (DAJ), the St James Public Health Service, Jamaica AIDS Support and the Eye Boutique were on hand to provide medical services and health information.
Many persons who turned out to the fair, some of whom are diabetics, received the services provided by the health fair and praised the efforts of the agencies.
“It is really difficult to source the funds for a doctor’s check-up and opportunities like this are really good for those who can’t afford it,” stated a participant, and several others shared this sentiment.
The Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay, which has served the parish for over fifty years with many impressive school and health projects, continues its effort to cultivate an attitude of awareness towards matters of health and wellness among Jamaicans.