CHIP creates community buzz in Fiji

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The Suva CHIP graduation ceremony.

The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) is creating quite a buzz in Fiji, with a record number of graduates from the community across the country.

In late September, 46 non-Adventist participants in Suva completed the month long CHIP course, and were awarded a certificate of completion and recognition for their hard work. More than 20 of these participants were members from the Butt Street Methodist Church—one of the leading denominations in the country. The remaining participants were employees of the Bank South Pacific (BSP) Life Bank, who took a keen interest in CHIP after realising most of their high insurance claims were made by people under 50 years of age.

“This group of young workers joined CHIP because they are feeling afraid themselves for their health and want to improve it,” said Fiji Mission assistant health director Akanisi Namakadre. “BSP also saw the potential in the future of implementing this program for their customers, to reduce the nature of claims and improve health issues.”

The graduation program was held at the Fiji Mission’s conference centre. Each participant came with a vegan dish, showcasing what they’d learnt and implemented during their 30 day training. A final blood test, compared with one taken at the start of the program, revealed huge improvements for the vital signs of all participants, with a drop in blood pressure, pulse and weight. For those diagnosed with or on the precipice of diabetes, all glucose levels were within a healthy range.

Pastor Maveni Kaufononga presents a CHIP graduate with her certificate, as Fiji Mission health director Dr Alipate Vakamocea reads the names.

“There were happy reactions all around as each member viewed their personal health testing report,” said Ms Namakadre. “CHIP was a true witness to the power of lifestyle medicine, and what it can do if the members continue down the path of healthy living.”

Across the country, in the city of Lautoka, a group of 12 people also graduated. The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Health headquarters, and facilitated by George Kwong—a church member whose life changing experience with CHIP empowered him to volunteer his time and money to help lifestyle-related diseases in the country through the introduction of lifestyle medicine. Mr Kwong currently runs all the CHIP sessions in western Viti Levu, in addition to other health initiatives at his local church.

Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) president Pastor Maveni Kaufononga congratulated the participants for choosing CHIP, saying the TPUM office had started their CHIP journey together as a team on October 1.

“It’s great to see more and more people are taking their health seriously,” he said. “Our health is our wealth, and we must be good stewards of it.”

The health department of the Fiji Mission will now continue to support Club CHIP—a monthly program where past participants come together and share their journey.

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