A Community health fair in the village of Morne Prosper on Sunday May 25th, 2014 has increased the awareness of health risks among community members and motivated them to develop and make changes to enhance their personal health habits.
The Health fair committee of Morne Prosper organized the event to demonstrate its concern about the incidence of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases (CNCD’s) in that community.
In 2008 the Ministry of Health revealed that the leading cause of death in Dominica was heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Rosalind Daisy, a community health nurse from Morne Prosper, told community residents that in Morne Prosper alone, statistics reveal that over the past 5 to 10 years, 24 people from the community died as a result of complications associated to CNCD’s.
“Here in Morne Prosper, based on the last census conducted in 2011 our population was at 703 (377 males and 326 females). Although our statistics are not yet updated, it shows that 8% of our population in Morne Prosper is living with a diagnosis of hypertension and diabetes.”
Daisy went on to explain that “Out of this figure, 29 females are diagnosed with hypertension and 18 females with diabetes. As it relates to the men she said 4 males were diagnosed with diabetes and 7 with hypertension.
She said based on the small population size of Morne Prosper, “These statistics are much too high.”
Statistics from the Ministry of Health also reveal that among the most frequent diagnosis in hospital admissions at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) were heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and stroke.
Nurse Daisy said based on this trend, urgent action needs to be taken to reduce the incidence of CNCD’s.
“It is clear that the CNCD’s is a major cause of concern for us in the community of Morne Prosper. We need to determine in our hearts that we are not going to be part of the statistics of those living with hypertension, cancer and chronic diseases.”
She said the major factors influencing the increase of CNCD’s are unhealthy lifestyle practices such as poor diet and physical inactivity.
Nurse Daisy noted that “There is an increase in the consumption of high carbonated drinks, salt, sugar and alcohol with a corresponding decrease in the intake of fruit and vegetables,” all contributing factors to the increase in CNCD’s.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that internationally almost thirty-five million people die every year as a result of the effects of CNCD’s.
In the Caribbean and Dominica it is the leading cause of death.
Daisy added that “Dominica’s CNCD risk factor survey in 2006 revealed that 9 in 10 people are not eating the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
In light of this, nurse Daisy issued a call to villagers of Morne Prosper to consume more fruits and vegetables.
“We are the vegetable producing basket of the nation (Morne Prosper) and we want to encourage you to eat more vegetables and eat more fruits and increase your physical exercise. As you do this, you will decrease your risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers. These diseases are preventable if we take action now,” she stressed.
Sunday’s community health fair in Morne Prosper was celebrated under the theme: Think, live and be well: Fruits and Veggies matter.”