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Feb 2, 2017

The National Library’s Health Fair

The National Library hosted a one day health fair today – it wasn’t held in 2016, but they say that the initiative is an annual one.  A number of local health organizations  participated to share with the public and invited schools on how to live a longer and healthier life by making smart lifestyle choices. Andrea Polanco stopped in at the fair today:

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Belize National Library Service today hosted a health fair to promote healthy living in the Belize City community. The event, open to the public, particularly targets young people – primary and secondary school students. The fair features a number of local organizations offering free testing and information. Among the partner organizations are the Kidney Association, The Red Cross, Belize Cancer Society, BFLA and Belize Diabetes Association.

 

Emerita Smith

Emerita Smith, Library Assistant, Belize National Library

“We are here to promote healthy living. We need everyone to be aware of their health; for longer life. We just wanted to encourage people to eat better; exercise more; so that we could all live healthy lifestyles. We see so many people out here dying at very young ages – from cancer, heart diseases, and a number of illnesses and at very young age – it is shocking.  We have free testing done. We are doing free pap smears. You can also get your blood pressure checked, you can get your blood type checked – a lot of people don’t even know their blood type. You can get information on the Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, all those types of viruses; communicable and non-communicable diseases.”

 

One of the ways to ensure longer and healthier life is to share information to make the right choices, especially as it relates to sexual health. One of the partners at today’s health fair is the BFLA. They have interactive games aimed at teaching the students safe sex practices.

 

Sheena Gentle

Sheena Gentle, Programme & Education Officer, BFLA

“Well, this is our Kiss Booth; our ‘Keeping it Sexy and Safe’ and what we do, we talk about unwanted pregnancy prevention, STI and HIV transmission and prevention, we talk about condom use; basically, safer sexual practices and things that young people can do and even the older person can do to protect themselves while having sex.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“In talking with the students, do you get a sense that they know about these things – these practices?”

 

Sheena Gentle

“Most of the high school students and older students they know about it. A lot of the primary school students don’t. There are some new terms that we talk about that they are not familiar with but of course, by the time they leave the booth they know what we are talking about.”

 

The Red Cross used the fair to promote proper hygiene through the washing of hands. As one rep explains – while this may seem like an everyday practice for most people – washing the hands should not be a five or ten second act; care and time must be given when washing and drying the hands.

 

Red Cross Representative

“There is a process. When you washing your hands like this, right, you already got the soap. So, you are washing your hands like this and you scrub up here and then you do it to the other hand. Singing the birthday song that is the length that it takes to do proper hand washing. Then you use the thumbs because when you are like this you notice that the thumbs are not washing, so then you wash the thumbs. When you do like this, you notice there is a gap between your hands and that is not washing as well, so you want to get between there and you want to wash with your nails so you do this. You can go back and repeat the whole process again. So, when you rinse your hand is not supposed to touch the water because then the bacteria comes off back again and you have to go through the process again. Make sure that when you are washing your hands you have a faucet – it has to be running water. So, he is gonna be your faucet and when you rinse your hand. If you don’t have the paper – and if you use a towel you will get bacteria right back on your hands again. So, what you do, you don’t do this because bacteria is already on your clothes, so you just air dry. You don’t have the paper and you must not use the towel and you don’t use your clothes, so you air dry and you are good to go.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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