CLOSE to 300 Saint Lucians and visitors alike made their way to NAGICO’s headquarters in Reduit, Gros Islet before the 4.00 p.m. closing down time for the second annual NAGICO Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday 17th August 2019. Despite a persistent drizzle throughout the six hour event brought along by the passage of a Tropical Wave, organizers have dubbed the event an overwhelming success.
In focus was the sort of holistic approach to health and wellness in Saint Lucia that organizers hope many people will emulate. There were free testing for blood sugar and pressure, kidney checks, opportunities to do pap smears, eye screening, dental screening/examinations, and breast tests along with the dissemination of associated information. At the event, sexual and reproductive health information from the Family Planning Division was also made available to attendees, as well as cancer education, rapid HIV and Syphilis testing, BMI and nutrition education, fitness, skin care and makeup consultations, and more.
After the various tests, anyone in need of further evaluation/monitoring was as part of the health fair referred to the nearest Health Centre. In terms on how often tests like blood pressure and sugar should be done, a nurse on hand at the event said, “If you have any underlying condition and are hypertensive, you should check it regularly”.
Speaking to the VOICE about the event, General Manager for NAGICO (Saint Lucia) Limited, Adele Jn Baptiste expressed: “As an insurer we see the rise in need for this type of event, because we see the increased cost of health care and we know not everyone can afford medical insurance. We wanted to do our part to give back to allow individuals a more relaxed environment to have a consultation and get educated on a few health issues/conditions.”
She added: “We partnered with the Ministry of Health in 2018 and we find the numbers were amazing for the first time hosting the event. This year we decided to continue as best as we can and make it an annual event, hopefully bigger and better every year.”
The General Manager said the most visited area on the day was the blood/diabetic/sugar testing tent; though a number of persons tested their kidneys, eyes, and underwent dental checks.
“Some went to the HIV bus and of course they enjoyed the smoothies and the various healthy snacks we had available for them,” she said.
Jn Baptiste was very thankful for the various agencies/partners involved, stating, “We had individuals from Blue Waters going around and giving Cran Water to the patrons on the ground; we do have a huge compound and it facilitated easier access”.
Speaking on where the idea to host the health fair originated, Jn Baptiste said: “I did it in Grenada when I was the Operations Manager. We wanted to do something to boost the awareness just the same way, and when I was appointed in Saint Lucia I decided, let’s do the same here, especially with the increased number of premature deaths that we have in the nation. Hopefully we can continue to push the initiative, and it can be bigger and better with more partners coming onboard and seeing the need for this and making it a nationwide event.”
NAGICO has assisted several organizations, schools, and events over the years including the Gros Islet Secondary School, Saint Lucia Premiere League (SPL), various feeding programmes and school graduations, and more.
In terms of this weekend’s event, Jn Baptiste thanked NAGICO’s staff members for helping to host a successful event. She singled out Vicky Forde, the campaign manager for the initiative who she said had “been amazing” in the execution of the event.
She also thanked the participants and attendees and everyone who in one way or the other had contributed to the second annual Health Fair.
Jn Baptiste’s finals words were: “Take care of you. If you can’t take care of yourself with NAGICO by purchasing insurance, take care of yourself through your own means by coming to our Health Fair annually where we will continue to provide free checkups and testing.”