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Oct 28, 2016

Checking in With Health Fair in Belize City

The Belize Association of Insurance and Financial Advisor (BELAIFA)  in partnership with the Kidney Association of Belize held a health fair in the city today. They were doing free rapid HIV testing, Kidney function test, Diabetes, Hypertension and other basic health tests, as well as sharing information with the public. News Five stopped in at the fair today over at the Lion’s parking lot. Andrea Polanco talked with the organizers and one of the participants who went in to check up on his health.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

BELAIFA and the Kidney Association of Belize hosted an all-day health fair in Belize City. It’s being held as part of the Life Insurance Awareness Week. The fair featured a number of local organizations offering free testing and information.


Shawn Smith

Shawn Smith, President, BELAIFA

“The purpose of the health fair is to interact with the community. Get them involved in terms of their health; knowing their status. Mostly, we have the Diabetes Association here. We also have the Kidney Association doing their thing. We have the HIV testing being done and a lot of information given as well BFLA, HECOPAB. And BELAIFA sharing information as it relates to insurance as well.  Most times people don’t check their health because they think that checking it is very expensive. So, providing the service out here and allowing them to know that it is free, that will assist them greatly. Most of the people who are coming in are giving us the ‘ oh we didn’t know the fair is happening and we are passing by so we stopped in’ and that is how they know, my diabetes is a little bit off or my pressure is a little off, you can go and check.”


Belizean philanthropist Dara Robinson is one of several persons who stopped in at the fair to check his health. He checked his blood pressure, did the Kidney test and also the checked his glucose level with the Diabetes Association. Robinson says that for a while he dismissed his health, but now as a diabetic he welcomes fairs like this one:


Dara Robinson

Dara Robinson, Participant

“I used to be one ah deh one weh does ignorant towards when you see deh yah lee fair yah and say oh I nuh need to do deh yah tests, just like every other man. One day I felt sick, headache and feel logy like I nuh got the same energy. I decide fi gone check doctor and they put me on a full test and I neva know my sugar deh high and they have me now as a diabetic. Like a month they tek me off ah it and I di do well and see I come today and do mi sugar and it deh high, yuh undastand. I would encourage especially man weh like pass and see deh thing; nuh because you feel good one day when the thing come and do yuh test. Because I myself neva know I di live with my sugar level high fi years and neva know. Cause deh thing deh creep pahn yuh, yuh undastand. Suh, mek wi stop play macho and come do wi test.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, what advice did they give you today; you just found out your sugar is high?”


Dara Robinson

“I know my sugar go up and down and they the encourage me fi become wah memba. You go and get yuh lee test, that I could deh home and do my own lee test day to day. And I wah tek it serious because all deh thing todeh day, the guy explained to, that sugar affect yuh eye, all yuh organs inna yuh body and I done the get effect pahn my foot. I used to get foot pain and all kinda thing caused from the shuga. Suh dah wah wake up call if I wah live another forty-odd years, yuh undastand?”


And according to the Kidney Association of Belize, as more people are diagnosed with Diabetes they are seeing more kidney-related diseases. But, they say a Kidney function test should become a part of everyone’s routine health checks.


Kirk Lainfiesta

Kirk Lainfiesta, Administrator, Kidney Association

“It is very simple. It is just a matter of drawing a little bit of blood. You can go to any of the Poly clinics and it is basically for free. You just request that you would like to do a Kidney function test. You go to any of the other private labs you will pay about twenty dollars or so for the test. With the labs you will get the results almost immediately and with the poly-clinics you will get it in about a week or two. What that does now, it tests two things in your blood; it test your creatinine and your BUN. Your BUN is basically the amount of urea in your blood. And when those levels become elevated you are potentially at risk for Kidney Disease. So, we recommend that everybody do a kidney test at least once a year to check to see at what function and how your kidneys are functioning.”


Andrea Polanco

“When you look at Kidney Diseases and other related illnesses in Belize, what are some of the more common ones that you see?”


Kirk Lainfiesta

“In relation to Kidneys, apart from the Kidney Disease a lot of people are coming to us and are asking about how we deal with kidney stones.  So, we have information and also have our booth out here as well to help with all that information. When it comes to Kidney Disease, we all know that two of the main factors are Diabetes and Hypertension. Because those two are on the rise, we see an increase in cases with patients coming to us with Kidney Disease and Chronic Kidney Failure.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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