JAMAICANS are being encouraged to turn out in their numbers today, Wednesday, May 17, to get their blood pressure checked at various locations islandwide as the world marks World Hypertension Day, a global initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure.
To commemorate the day in Jamaica the National Health Fund (NHF) will conduct free blood pressure screenings for 20,000 people at several locations islandwide. The initiative aims to help people become more aware of their blood pressure status and the impact of hypertension on their health and well-being.
The World Health Organization says hypertension is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and over one billion people worldwide have hypertension.
In his recent budget debate presentation Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton noted that approximately 679,000, or a quarter of the entire Jamaican population, have hypertension. Of this number only 377,000, or 54 per cent, know their status. This means over 300,000 do not know their blood pressure reading.
Those with hypertension (or high blood pressure) currently have the highest number of enrolments under the NHF Card programme, with more than 432,000 persons registered since its inception in 2003.
For the blood pressure screening event the NHF is partnering the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the regional health authorities, the Medical Association of Jamaica, non-governmental organisations, churches, and several private sector entities including NCB, JPS, Lasco, JMMB, Rainforest Seafoods, Digicel, the Bank of Jamaica, Jamaica National, Red Stripe, COK Sodality Credit Union, Petrojam, Couples Hotel, and Advantage Communications.
Screening locations include:
Kingston & St Andrew: Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre, Union Square DrugServ Pharmacy, Bethel Baptist Church, Gordon Town SDA, Mamby Park Baptist Church, Denham Town Revival Church, Wildman Street United Pentecostal Church, Gospel Refuge United Pentecostal Church, the Heart Foundation (across from the Cross Roads Post Office), Kingston and St Andrew Food Handlers Clinic, public health centres
St Catherine: Spanish Town, Linstead and Greater Portmore DrugServ pharmacies; House of Prayer, Praise & Power; Church of God of Prophecy, Brunswick Avenue; Gregory Park Baptist; Spanish Town Pentecostal City Mission Church
Clarendon: Drug Serv Pharmacy at the May Pen Hospital, May Pen; Lionel Town and Chapelton town centres
Manchester: Cecil Charlton Park, DrugServ Pharmacy at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, Manchester Health Department
St Elizabeth: Junction, Black River and Santa Cruz town centres
Westmoreland: Beckford Plaza, Fontana Pharmacy, D & L Supermarket, Shoppers' Fair, and Professional Eye Care in Frome
Hanover: Hanover Health Department, Noel Holmes Hospital, health centres
St James: Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay Transportation Centre, Barnett Street taxi stand #2, Town Centre Post Office, J & J Pharmacy
Trelawny: Trelawny Health Department, health centres in Falmouth, Duncans, Rio Bueno and Ulster Spring
St Ann: St Ann's Bay Fire Brigade, St Ann's Bay Police Headquarters, Brown's Town Bus Park, Ocho Rios Commercial Centre, Ocho Rios Town Centre, Claremont Town Centre Taxi Park, Moneague Tax Office, health centres in Moneague, Exchange, Claremont, Ocho Rios
St Mary: Tax Office, Annotto Bay, Ministry of Labour, HEART/NSTA Trust, Social Development Commission, Port Maria, Jamaica Producers, Annotto Bay
St Thomas: Drug Serv Pharmacy at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Jamaica Bible Church, Trinityville
Portland: Public health centres
For more information about the National Health Fund's blood pressure screenings, please call the Customer Service Centre at 876-906-1106, or visit our website at www.nhf.org.jm
Remember, knowing your blood pressure status could save your life.
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