Physical activity, healthy diet secret to long life – oldest Yarrowkabra residents

– As MoPH, RDC #4 and Diamond Diagnostic Centre hosts Medical outreach

– Outreach promotes preventative measures for healthy lifestyles

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, September 8, 2018

Three of Yarrowkabra’s oldest residents took the opportunity, at a recent medical outreach to the community, to share the secrets to long and healthy lives. Edward Benjamin, Isaac Johnson and Erline Melville have been recognised as the community’s oldest residents.

At age 90, retired Chief Inspector of Police, Edward Benjamin said, “I am always up at 5am and by 05:45am or 06:15am I’m in the yard doing things… As long as the rain doesn’t fall, Benjie in his yard and that is what probably caused me to live this long.”

Isaac Johnson, a retired Forestry Consultant even at age 84, is still involved in consultancy work and is quite active. He said “I do not let my age get me down… next month some people are asking me to do consultancy work for them.”

Erline Melville is a retired headteacher. The 76 year old is the only surviving member of her immediate family. Melville still travels a lot to the Pomeroon River to lead the church congregation as the Pastor. The only challenge she faces at her age, is an issue with her eye which requires surgery.

The Ministry of Public Health along with Region Four Regional Democratic Council Department of Health collaborated with staff of the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, the Yarrowkabra Health Post and the Cuban Medical Brigade to host a grand outreach in the area.

The exercise was attended by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence who advocated for residents to live preventative lifestyles rather than waiting until they are sick and rely solely on medical attention for recovery.

“For far too long, our culture dictates that when you’re dying you go to see a doctor… we want to change that. In order for us to change the behaviour pattern of our people what we have done at the Ministry of Public Health, is to take the decision to bring the health services to the people.” Minister Lawrence said.

This medical outreach is one with a difference since it offers a level four type of service (services available at a regional hospital). Residents of the Yarrowkabra community usually receive health services from a community health worker and are then referred to Diamond Diagnostic Centre for further medical attention, if necessary.

All specialised services were offered at this medical outreach including internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics ophthalmology and many others. Those desirous also had the opportunity to donate blood while all others came to have simple procedures done (blood pressure, blood glucose).

Residents were reminded by Minister Lawrence to eat healthily, get active, refrain from the use of excessive alcohol and to not smoke. She also urged parents to take charge of their children’s health by following those four simple guidelines.

Delicia Haynes
Images: Keno George