US Embassy promotes healthy lifestyles
Stabroek News
December 4, 2003

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The United States Embassy yesterday held its first ever health fair with a call from Ambassador Roland Bullen for Guyanese to be more health conscious.

The ambassador remarked that many persons took their health for granted, but now was the time for them to be awakened to the seriousness of living a healthy lifestyle.

Bullen told the gathering at the opening session of the fair that, with all of the challenges the country faced each day, it was important to remember that taking care of themselves is a key to success in all we do. "Good health comes from practising healthy habits every day. A nutritious, well-balanced diet, plenty of exercise, positive thinking and positive health practices not only help each of us reach our potential but also makes each of us a strong member of our community, the work force and our nations."

The ambassador exhorted the participants to be role models for the youth of Guyana. "Let your children and those of your colleagues and friends also learn healthy lifestyles from you."

In brief remarks, Minister of Health Leslie Ramsammy lauded the US Embassy for its initiative and urged that the exercise become an annual feature.

Ramsammy observed that often citizens focused on HIV/AIDS as the only health problem, but cautioned that there were several others. He called for a change in lifestyles and behavioural patterns, noting that it was the only way there could be better control of many of the diseases.

In a statement the Embassy said that because of the increasing threat of HIV/AIDS epidemic to Guyana and the Caribbean region, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta had established an office Guyana in September 2002 to assist the government of Guyana to expand and strengthen its response. The embassy said CDC Guyana was a small programme with 15 permanent staff, located in Kingston.

The purpose of CDC support is to reduce and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS in Guyana. CDC support to the government is focused on expansion of voluntary counselling and testing services; strengthening of the prevention of mother to child transmission services; prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections; developing policies and plans for treatment of HIV/AIDS infected children and adults; conducting HIV/surveillance activities; strengthening health infrastructure; improving HIV/AIDS training and improving data quality.

Scores of organisations, schoolchildren and members of the public attended the fair which was held on the lawns of the embassy. Organisers promised to make the fair an annual event with the hope of bringing on board more organisations.

Yesterday's fair commenced with the embassy's Tae Bo Club staff displaying healthy lifestyle in a 30-minute physical workout.

Among some of the organisations which participated at the fair were Colgate Palmolive Guyana Ltd, Da Silva's Optical, Eureka Laboratory, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Geddes Grant Guyana Ltd, Guyana Medical Laboratory, Lifeline Counselling Services and Medi Care Pharmacy. Participants at the fair were afforded with free medical examinations, blood tests and counselling.