MORANT BAY, St Thomas — Public health officials in this parish are gearing up to do more than 1,000 blood pressure tests on May 17, in observance of World Hypertension Day. Ahead of that, they will be rolling out a series of health-screening activities across the parish.
Campaigns held across St Thomas clinics will be in keeping with the national theme ‘Know Your Numbers’.
“This has been launched under the exigencies of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and St Thomas has been tasked to take and record at least 1,200 blood pressure tests,” said Regional Medical Officer of Health Dr Dianne Jackson.
She was speaking at last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the St Thomas Municipal Corporation.
Jackson noted that curative health centres within the parish will participate in the blood pressure screening exercise. They will do tests for individuals who know they have low or high blood pressure as well as those who don’t know their status.
In addition, there will be two outreach stations: one at Trinity Baptist Church in Morant Bay and the other at Yallahs Primary School. Jackson hopes residents will come out in their numbers to take advantage of the services provided. She said there are plans to do even more.
“Really what [the health ministry] wants to do is to expand these screening activities to weekly events across the parishes and eventually into monthly events and certainly a bigger quarterly event which will be married with Jamaica Moves,” Jackson outlined.
Weekly screenings will cover five core tests: HIV and syphilis, blood pressure checks, vision testing, glucose testing, and cholesterol checks.
There will also be referrals for an expanded package of care that covers aliments such as cervical and colon cancer as well as screening for prostate cancer.
“I just want to take the opportunity to thank the Port Morant EAN Nursing School for loaning us 15 of their students who will be deployed at various sites on the day,” said Jackson.
She is hoping the locally elected officials will also throw their support behind the events planned.
“This will be done weekly; perhaps we can set up stations in each health district and you will invite your community stalwarts to mobilise persons to come out and get tested,” she urged.
World Hypertension Day is celebrated annually on May 17. The main aim is to inform the public about and increase awareness of hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure.