Monday, 27 September 2010

Health Awareness Day

Health Awareness Day at the preschool was planned by the volunteers for Friday 24th September. The day before we had all had a walkabout around the local area with the preschool children. We delivered leaflets to each home that we visited encouraging people to attend. There were four subjects area –

  • Sexual Health
  • Healthy Eating & Drinking
  • Malaria Prevention
  • General Hygiene

The group of men and women moved from display to display listing to our presentations with the help of Eddie’s translation.

Written by Sue Fletcher

Sexual Health (L-R: Eddie, Sue, Isabelle)

Sexual Health

The Sexual Health Display was the first to be visited by an audience of about 25 local women and one or two men. Inevitably, our direct approach to sex education was met with many giggles, as it was a subject not usually discussed with such openness.

We started with some basic statistics on HIV/AIDS and the need for regular testing and possible treatments. With the help of Eddie’s translation, we went on to discuss the ways in which HIV may be transmitted, and we explained that it is possible to live normally with people who are HIV positive. We quizzed the audience, using flashcards, about activities that will not transmit HIV, which they understood clearly. Another key message was the right of women to refuse sex and the pressure placed upon them by men.

We then discussed other STDs, their symptoms, consequences and possible cures. Condom use was a major topic in our presentation, we demonstrated how to correctly open a condom packet and compared HIV transmission with and without a condom, using a diagram. After looking through the leaflet on how to use them, and laughing at our descriptions, each member of the audience was given a handful of condoms, which they gratefully received. Before the presentation ended, some questions were raised about the acquisition of female condoms, which we explained could be discussed at the local clinic.

Written by Sue Fletcher & Isabelle Younane

Healthy Eating & Drinking (Standing L-R: Margarida, Jade, Eddie)

Healthy Eating & Drinking

We talked mostly about 3 main topics:

*Food Pie Chart

*Food to limit (sweets/fried food)

*Healthy drinking

We described the food pie chart of how much wheat, meat, fruit, veg and dairy products should be eaten a day. We specifically mentioned the amount of fruit and veg they should have a day and how they contain a lot of vitamins to help prevent flues, cold and help boost their immune system. In contrast we focused their attention off the foods they should limit, for example, fizzy drinks, sweets and fried food.

Lastly we spoke about healthy drinking, how much clean water they should drink a day and showed how many cups this would be. In parallel we told them alcohol should be drunk in a moderate and controlled way and we gave an example of how many cans of beer would be acceptable to drink at once. We also showed them bottles of rum and wine to demonstrate the amount of alcohol is considered acceptable at once.

The audience was very enthusiastic about our stand and they were particularly interested at the end, they asked questions regarding alternative ingredients they could substitute others that are very expensive for them (eg. Meat/Cheese). They mentioned that beef is not a common product on their daily diet and we suggested that it could be substituted with beans, because they have the same amount of protein.

Another topic brought up by them was fruit and vegetables have more vitamins but how could they get the vitamins in more affordable foods? We explained that oranges, bananas, tomatoes have a lot of the nutirients that they need, but a good way of having more variety would be to add spinach and cabbage to their rice.

Finally, the women mentioned they would actually like to see the different ingredients on the table, instead of having them in a drawing of the food pie chart.Most of them specifically talked about cheese, since this is something they don’t usually eat, because it is very expensive when compared to other products.They suggested that next time we could have small pieces of cheese so they could try out how tastes and what they would use it for.

Written by Jade Thomas & Margarida Rodrigues

Malaria Prevention (Standing L-R: Eddie, Katherine sitting, Jantine)

Malaria Prevention

Our presentation for Awareness Day was based on Malaria. We had four main points to get across; where malaria comes from (mosquitoes), how to prevent mosquito bites, the symptoms of malaria and that going to the hospital to be tested was vital.

We made the presentation as visual as possible and this was received really well by the local women. When Jantine described how to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes Katherine put on a long sleeved top and climbed onto a pretend bed underneath a mosquito net which was hanging from a tree outside. This got a lot of laughs from the crowd and hopefully this will stand out in their memory and demonstrate the message clearly.

Overall we believe that the presentation was succinct, it relayed each message very well. The one query we received was questioning whether or not malaria could come from water. This was quite a shocking question and we quickly reassured them that malaria only came from mosquito bites. We connected and assured them that the waters role in malaria prevention was the need to put lids over water buckets and containers so that mosquitoes are unable to lay their eggs.

To conclude, the short nature of our presentation meant that it ran smoothly without a great deal of complexity.

Written by Katherine King & Jantine Verboeket

General Hygiene (Standing L-R: Eddie, Becky, Emily)

General Hygiene

General Hygiene covered hand washing, eye infections and oral hygiene. We explained the importance of washing your hands with soap and hot water, if available, or clean cold water, and when you should wash your hands after going tot the toilet, working outside, treating wounds etc and before eating and preparing food. In regards to eye infections, we described some symptoms of eye infections, including sore or watery eyes and a burning sensation behind your eyelids. We also explained how to prevent spreading eye infections. Tooth brushing was fairly straight forward as we demonstrated how to brush all surfaces of your teeth and the importance of using toothpaste and rinsing your mouth. We handed out toothbrushes and toothpaste to all the ladies but of course they all wanted a different colour, different size and 10 more for their kids at home! We also briefly went through the dangers of smoking and its possible effects on your health. All in all it was a successful presentation that was easily received thanks to our translator Eddie. We hope that we imparted some useful information and that the toothbrushes will get some good use!

Written by Emily Edwards & Becky Hatton

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