First CHEP training in the islands

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Course convenor Sibilla Johnson with the participants.

A course designed to help church members conduct health programs for their local communities has been held in the South Pacific islands for the first time.

Twenty-two Solomon Islanders are now trained to run Community Health Education Programs (CHEP), after a four-day training session was held in Honiara last month. It was conducted by former Victorian Conference health director Sibilla Johnson, who developed CHEP, an Australian Government-accredited program.

The program teaches participants about public and lifestyle health, vegetarian cooking and food safety principles. CHEP training has been conducted across Australia but this was the first time it had been held in the islands.

South Pacific Division health director Dr Chester Kuma, who assisted with the training, said it was exciting to see CHEP extended to the islands. He said Pacific CHEP training is supported by the 10,000 Toes campaign, which is aimed at preventing and reversing Type 2 diabetes across the South Pacific.

“One of the key strategies of the 10,000 Toes campaign is that local churches become wellness centres where health programs such as CHEP, the Comprehensive Health Improvement Program (CHIP) and Live More are conducted to raise awareness about the impact of lifestyle diseases and encourage people to take action,” he said.

CHEP training will next be conducted in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu in 2019.

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