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Story Highlights

  • Members of staff of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and several other government agencies will benefit from a health expo and workshop, to be held on World Diabetes Day, Friday, November 14.
  • The JIS will be partnering with Massy Distribution (Jamaica) Limited to host the event, which will focus on diabetes, a non-communicable disease which affects approximately 400 million people worldwide.
  • Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on November 11, President of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, Professor Errol Morrison, said that diabetes in now among the top three causes of death in Jamaica.

Members of staff of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and several other government agencies will benefit from a health expo and workshop, to be held on World Diabetes Day, Friday, November 14, at the agency’s head office in Kingston.

The JIS will be partnering with Massy Distribution (Jamaica) Limited to host the event, which will focus on diabetes, a non-communicable disease which affects approximately 400 million people worldwide.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on November 11, President of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, Professor Errol Morrison, said that diabetes in now among the top three causes of death in Jamaica.

“It is affecting nearly 500,000 persons in Jamaica and what we have been seeing is that this figure has been increasing over the years, and the projection is that in another 20 years we may see a 50 per cent increase,” he said.

Professor Morrison added that while the figure is daunting, more cases can be prevented if persons adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes modifying diets and getting adequate exercise.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Massy Distribution (Jamaica) Limited, Richard Barrow, said persons do not pay enough attention to diabetes, which is a “global silent killer,” and his company is happy to be playing a part in the public education process.

Massy Distribution operates a My Star Programme, which offers a free value added diabetes education and support to doctors and their patients. The programme is geared towards improving glycemic control, prevents diabetes complications, promotes self care and improves the patient’s quality of life.

Mr. Barrow noted that Friday’s initiative is in keeping with the company’s policy for health promotion throughout the Caribbean.

“Part of our manifesto speaks to the spirit of giving back throughout the Caribbean. These are the initiatives that Massy considers extremely important for the furtherance of better health for persons,” he said.

The Massy Distribution boss added that working with the JIS  is a preferred choice because of the agency’s shared vision to educate Jamaicans.

“We also want to be able to partner with organizations like ourselves that will take the opportunity, as well as the necessary detail, in spreading this word throughout all of Jamaica and has the capacity and infrastructure to be able to do that,” he said.

In the meantime, Director of Human Resources at the JIS, Bernita Locke, said the partnership with Massy Distribution coincides with the agency’s own plan to launch a health programme for its employees.

“One of our initiatives this year for our employees is to introduce a fitness and wellness programme across the agency. It did not take us very long when Massy Distribution invited us to partner with them to promote World Diabetes Day, because we recognize that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce and in keeping with the Occupational Safety and Health thrust of the Government, we are right on board with it,” she said.

The workshop is open to employees of several government agencies, including National Housing Trust, National Solid Waste Management Authority, KIA Motors and Chelsea Jerk Centre.

It will comprise several presentations by diabetes educators and podiatrists as well as diabetes screening and cholesterol tests, product sampling and healthy meal preparation alternatives.

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