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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Alumni Association Central Chapter recently held a promotional exhibition and dinner in observance of its activities in Jamaica.
The event, held on Wednesday, December 13, comprised a tour of the Wellness Centre, the Mandeville Hospital, and the Southern Regional Health Authority’s office by Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency Masahiro Obata; an exhibition displaying work done by members of the association throughout the years, particularly since March of this year, and a dinner at the Bloomfield Great House in Mandeville.
At the function, Ambassador Obata said he was “pleased to be associated with the people of Manchester and the many who provide good health services”. He added “I am impressed with this initiative . which addresses the maintenance of health for individuals living with chronic lifestyle diseases.I am aware that the wellness programme has been targeting the age group 35 and over, a group that eats more and exercises less,” Mr. Obata stated.
Mr. Obata however expressed concern about the unhealthy lifestyles of the younger generation. “I fear that the very young are scarcely concerned about wellness as they are not convinced that they too must prepare for the stage of advanced youth. It is therefore my hope that this programme will extend itself even more in the future to address wellness for all in the Southern region,” he said.
The Japanese Ambassador further expressed the hope that “this programme will help many persons to become more aware of their wellness status and no doubt many will prevent serious health threats, as well as eliminate those that have already started”.
He pointed out that the Government of Japan’s commitment to the programme was unwavering, as it sought to promote a concept of ‘health for all’ which was aligned with the Ministry of Health’s mission.
The Ambassador congratulated the members of the association for sustained participation in the wellness programme, as well as the Southern Regional Health Authority for being so accepting of the JICA effort. “I am confident that this programme will be a success and the facilities, such as the Wellness Centre, will soon become common place across Jamaica,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of the JICA Alumni Association Central Chapter, Yvonne Pitter said the alumni chapter had made significant accomplishments within the three years and congratulated members for their “high-spiritedness and for working hard to keep the chapter alive and well”.
The JICA Alumni Association in Jamaica comprises persons who returned from technical training and programmes for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, in Japan. The association, formed on March 2, 1998 as a non-profit organization, is gradually expanding as its membership increases through the Kingston, Central and Western chapters.