St. Lucia Moves is showing no signs of slowing down ever since its launch in September 2022.
The campaign has hosted and partnered with various organizers in putting on healthy lifestyle events such as walks and screenings.
The St. Lucia Moves team at the Ministry of Health remains active through various physical and educational activities around the island.
A major part of the campaign is to encourage public participation, in hopes of inspiring a continued trend amongst households and even work places.
To do so, it is understood that partnerships would also have to be formed. In February, youth groups of Vieux Fort hosted a healthy living walk under the St. Lucia Moves Campaign.
Youth leader of a Vieux Fort youth group, Eliza Victor, spoke of her group walking from the Brewery through Augier to the Phillip Marcelin Grounds where some gifts were distributed, warm downs were entered into and a healthy breakfast served.
Vincent Edward, a participant described the walk as “a good initiative.”
“It was walk for our freedom,” he said. The walk was conducted on Independence Day, February 22 of this year.
Betty Faucher, another participant, described the walk as “very challenging.”
“I haven’t walked in years but this was motivation for me to start again. Just a couple days ago my doctor said that my blood pressure has gone up so this walk (was) a challenge for me and I’m really glad that I did it,” she said.
Last month saw a host of activities which included a sunrise walk on the South-East Coast of the island. District Medical Officer, Dr. Gennie Louisy-Isaac said ‘Wellness’ is also part of the campaign’s focus.
“So, we chose the sunrise walk so that it could be relaxing. It could help reduce your stress, it could help you refocus, to get us grounded a bit,” Dr. Louisy-Isaac said.
Participants of this activity were not just grateful, but mind blown on arrival to the scenic location. One participant, Julie Augustin-Chalery said that she took her husband along.
“It (was) interesting. He is from Micoud and he had never been to the end of Anse Captain, Vierge Point. And I heard also several persons saying that’s the first time I’m coming here, that’s the first time. So, it had to take the Micoud Wellness Centre, along with the Ministry of Health to organize such a walk. I (felt) thrilled and I’m very happy. I think we should have more of this. Because Healthy living is important,” Augustin-Charlery said.
Officials from the Ministry of Health expressed delight with participation in the events.
“Of course, we recognize that as the Ministry of Health, we have to take the lead in any such initiative and of course we recognize that this preventative way of living, this preventative lifestyle in terms of health will help to reduce our health financing demands in (the) country. And of course (such a lifestyle) will help persons live healthier, happier lives and to be well generally,” said Jenny Daniel, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs.
Minister for Health Moses Jn. Baptiste who has been actively present at many of the southern health activities noted the need to move some more.
“We have a very serious crisis in St. Lucia in relation to Hypertension, Diabetes, Non-Communicable Diseases. And we believe St. Lucians (need) to walk a little more, exercise a little more, drink more fresh clean water and (relax) their mental health some more. All of these things will help to curb this steep rise in Non-Communicable disease,” Jn Baptiste said.
The St. Lucia Moves committee, by extension the Ministry of Health commends participants as well as organizers of the various lifestyle changing events as the island fights against NCD’s.
Shana Cyr-Philbert – Senior Medical Officer, Non-communicable Disease noted that Pathfinders were talking about something called NEWSTART which is an acronym for lifestyle changes, nutrition, exercise, air quality and so on which goes in-line with what “we as a ministry of health are pushing. We pushing for wellness, we pushing for holistic health.”
The Campaign is a branch of the regional Caribbean Moves initiative, all in an effort to ward off the scourge of non-communicable diseases.