A Health and Wellness Open Day was held in Belize City as part of activities under Caribbean Wellness Week. Using the slogan “Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Aging,” the Ministry of Health is promoting overall personal health. We hear more from Dr. Jorge Polanco, liaison with PAHO on non-communicable diseases.
Dr. Jorge Polanco, Ministry of Health/PAHO: In reality it’s perhaps one of the greater events of this week, Caribbean Wellness week and today we classified it as Caribbean Open day, where as you see we have different booths representing the concpet of wellness, promoting the concept of wellness. From the health side we have a big component is nutrition. You will notice a booth over there representing physical activity. It falls within the Caribbean tradition for the past 8 years. All the Caricom countries have been celebrating and promoting wellness. The under lying principal is to promote wellness versus having to take care later on in managing disease.
CEO in the Ministry, Dr. Peter Allen, says today’s event leans more toward the true policy of the Ministry – that rather than curing illness, we should promote keeping ourselves well. He speaks of some of the initiatives being promoted by the Ministry countrywide.
Dr. Peter Allen, CEO Ministry of Health: Some of you would have been down in Toledo where we launched some initiatives just recently focusing on the health of children in the poor or indigenous communities. In those communities we’re looking at partnering with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation to make sure that we can provide proper nutritional supplements to children especially in the school environment. You’ll see that we were launching tilapia ponds so that the schools can grow their own protein. We were launching school gardens so that they can grow their own vegetables and healthy produce. We we’re also launching a school healthy activity manual and that’s been developed again by the technical offices in the Ministry of Education and health, so that teachers as part of their curriculum can use guided methods to make healthy activities fun. At the other end of the spectrum, we’re doing our best to support initiatives like Senior steppers in Belmopan and the other group in Corozal and the wonderful things that the senior steppers do themselves to promote dancing as a way to stay fit and healthy and the fact is that these things work very well
According to the Ministry, letters were also sent to organizations, agencies and workplaces encouraging them to have wellness activities for their workers. Some ideas include a walk-to-work day, healthy snacks, health checks and health education sessions. Belize, along with the Caribbean region, celebrates Caribbean Wellness Day annually, engaging in various activities to reinforce health messages that promote wellness.