Seventh-day Adventists Church signs agreement to adopt 100 clinics

Friday, January 11, 2019

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THE Seventh-day Adventist Church is partnering with the Ministry of Health in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Through the church's Mission Project 2019 initiative themed “Wholistic Health for Personal and National Transformation,” the church this week gave its undertaking to adopt 100 Government clinics under Adopt-a-Clinic programme, and will assist in the upgrading of physical infrastructure, where necessary, and educate Jamaicans who uses the facilities, among other things.

“We will encourage churches within the region, where some of the 100 clinics identified by the Ministry of Health are located, to visit their local health facilities and identify opportunities to provide support to the health professionals,” Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, told a press conference held on Tuesday at the church's Eastern Region Headquarters in Kingston.

“This may be in the form of assisting in improving or effecting repairs to the physical environment, such as painting, repairs, supplying equipment needed, as funds are available, to make the working environment more attractive to workers and clients,” said Pastor Brown.

The church, he added, will also provide qualified and competent personnel to do presentations through the Adventist Health Professionals Association (AHPA) in each of its five regions.

“Good health today has to be described not as an occasion; it has to be more profoundly as a lifestyle, it is not an event as important as events are, it is a habit, it is what we practise on an ongoing basis,” Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told the press conference.

“That is why I like this partnership because this partnership is very in tune with the philosophy of the church generally but more specifically as it relates to the Seventh-day Adventists congregation. We have to get Jamaicans to recognise that their health cannot be occasioned by sporadic intervention of taking care of themselves.

“I say to persons when we discuss public health is that for too long as a people and as a country that our interpretation of good health has been one-sided and jaundiced in terms of the fundamental views and it has misdirected some of the focus that I believe otherwise should be redirected,” said the health minister.

“We have focused too much on how many hospitals we have, how many doctors we have, how many beds we have in hospitals, and what that means is that we are focused more on the curative side of health care, fixing the problem after the problem exist and very little effort focused on how do we prevent the problem from getting there in the first place,” the minister said.

Some of the projects included in church's Mission Project 2019 are health expos and health fairs, symposiums and seminars, exercise clubs, health walk/runs, and cooking classes.

The main activities of Mission Project 2019 will be the western region, where residents in Savanna-la-Mar, Lucea and Santa Cruz will benefit. The major health expo will take place at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St James on February 2.

Jamaica Moves

The Seventh-day Adventist Church also used the occasion to endorse the health ministry's Jamaica Moves programme which is in line with the church's core values and beliefs in wholistic health.

“We commend the efforts of the Ministry of Health, in particular Jamaica Moves, which emphasises exercise, eating healthy and adopting a healthful lifestyle. We are not only here to endorse the initiative but we will be partnering with the ministry as we seek to improve the life of our citizens,” said Pastor Everett Brown.

In response, Dr Tufton said: “Today for us, certainly for me is a significant occasion. It represents an opportunity where an institution, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through its endorsement of this Jamaica Moves initiative, its network of individuals and congregations across the country, its longevity of existence in Jamaica and critically and core to all of this, its core value belief, it philosophy of serving the holistic man as opposed to the partial man, is a match made in heaven.”

The Adventist Church has, in addition to the evangelistic aspect of its programmes, a major focus on health. Many health-related community outreach projects, it said, have been undertaken and will continue to be carried out in various communities across the island through its more than 750 congregations.

Plans, the church said, were also being finalised to make health presentations to various sectors/groups, including the security force, teachers, business groups and the clergy.

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