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Heath and wellness must be encouraged

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dear Editor,

There have been numerous articles in the news media concerning health and wellness. We need to keep the momentum going. We cannot progress as a country without healthy minds and bodies.

Severe illnesses take a toll on not just those affected, but their loved ones. Illnesses also negatively affect productivity in the workplace.

With cancer so prevalent, along with other diseases, too many Jamaicans don't really act until they have a health emergency, or when its too late. Prevention is better than cure. We must make this a mindset to be more health conscious and responsible for ourselves and our families. Being proactive with our health care is also less costly and less stressful.

There are too many people live a sedentary lifestyle; driving to most places with little options for exercise, even walking. Obesity is a growing problem, so is hypertension and stress. As we age we have to be more mindful about our diet, considering metabolism slows. It's also important to emphasise a work-life balance to encourage leisure and relaxation, which are vital to help alleviate stress.

I commend the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) for the work it does with limited resources. We do need to ramp up awareness on some basic issues, such as getting regular tests for our levels of cholesterol, sugar, blood pressure and, of course, cancer screenings.

It was reported that over 100 men turned up recently for the JCS's prostate screening. While this is commendable, it would've been more encouraging if JCS was able to screen more people. I believe free (or subsidised) screening should be widely available for basic tests at all public hospitals and clinics, and the Ministry of Health should explore options and partnerships to facilitate this. Prostate cancer can be tested for with blood tests, physical tests and other means. Colon cancer can be tested for with stool tests, colonoscopy.

Many cancers are treatable if detected early. I urge corporate Jamaica to invest more in the health needs of our country, especially with increasing awareness and facilitating basic testing.

Recently, the Guardian Group Foundation along with National Commercial Bank donated $3 million to the JCS to increase prostate cancer awareness, they should be commended, and we hope this will encourage others to join the effort.


P Chin