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Nov 4, 2005

Maskall health fair draws students despite rain

Story PictureAlthough the various agencies working to promote good health practices to all Belizeans do a pretty good job of getting their information out to the public, nothing beats the personal touch. And there’s nothing better than an information fair for bringing it all together in one place. News Five was in Maskall today for a real community event.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Despite the inclement weather, the community health fair still went ahead as scheduled. The event was mostly attended by primary school students from the eight communities along the old Northern Highway.

The fair was held under the theme: Good Health is a Community Responsibility ? Take Charge. And just how do these area residents plan to take charge of this responsibility? First by getting as much information as they can about what they can do to make sure the food they are getting is healthy and safe to eat. This was provided through the various exhibitions presented by the relevant agencies like the Public Health Bureau.

Frank Cain, Health Inspector
?Most people just take things off the shelf without even reading and put it in their basket. We encourage people to look for expiration dates, look for tins or packs that do not have labels on it, look for tins that are not rusted or dented and they will get a better buy.?

The fair not only concentrated on food but on other aspects of health. The police had a display a disturbing array of instruments that were actually used in domestic abuses cases. The Family Violence Unit reports that out of every ten cases they receive, six of those reports are physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, and economical abuse.

Guido Marin, P.C, Family Violence Unit
?Right now it would seem domestic violence is on an increase. We have plenty cases reaching at our offices. I believe people are more exposed as well. Not to say that domestic violence did not occur previously, it?s only that people are more aware of what types can be called domestic violence and they are making an effort to report it more.?

Equally disturbing is the fact that HIV and AIDS continue to affect a larger number of persons. The Pan American Social Marketing Organization, PASMO in its quest to make a difference continues to educate the public on how they can protect themselves from the deadly disease, no matter how young the audience…like the boys and girls who stopped by the PASMO booth to be informed.

Olga Urbina, Country Manager, PASMO
?This is not our target population for PASMO, we have at risk youths. Because they are younger, we just ask them information on like STIs; do they know what it is? What AIDS means? Small educational stuff, because what we do is that we also do education at the YWCA for the early leavers programme, so it?s very sensitive to children, we don?t disseminate information that?s not age appropriate.?

?People know about HIV and AIDS, they are aware, there?s a lot of information out there, but the problem is that people are not being safe about their sexual health.?

This year’s health fair took place at the Maskall Football Field and Community Centre.

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