A parade through the main street of Port Vila (Vanuatu) heralded the start of Adventist Health Week, which included the city’s first-ever health expo.
The Vanuatu Mobile Force Brass Band led the parade, which also included students from Epauto Adventist Senior Secondary School, representatives from the Vanuatu Ministry of Health, Vanuatu Mission office staff, church members, school teachers and an ambulance from Vila Central Hospital.
Director General of the Vanuatu Ministry of Health, George Taleo, and representatives from the World Health Organization were among invited guests to the opening program. Mr Taleo acknowledged the work being carried out by the Adventist Health Department. He said he would like to support Health Week annually and announced that it would now become part of the Ministry of Health business plan as one of the programs to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Port Vila’s first-ever health expo, held from June 18-20 in Faiwa Park, had the theme “Prevention is better than cure”. Adventist Health partnered with the Ministry of Health and Vila Central Hospital to provide essential health information, food sales and health screenings for the public. Booths were run by a number of groups, including ADRA, Hope Books, Adventist Welfare Society and the Blood Bank of Vanuatu.
Topics covered included diabetes, food safety, the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), antibiotic resistance awareness, tobacco and drug laws, oral health, practical lifestyle choices, mental health and wellness, domestic violence, teenage pregnancy and neglected tropical diseases.
Other activities included morning exercise sessions, a display by the ambulance and paramedics’ service, interviews with national leading health professionals, evening praise and worship, short concerts featuring Adventist music groups and artists, and film screenings.
“The Adventist Health department praises God for the support and participation seen throughout the program,” said Phalguni James, Adventist Health director for the Vanuatu Mission. “Many lives were touched and we hope to bring healing and hope to more through the health ministry.
“Every day Faiwa Park was filled with people hungering to know more about health and hope. Many people saw the connection between our health and spiritual lives because never before did a church run public health programs other than just screenings.
“We hope we can run more health expos on large scales, not just in Port Vila, but all around Vanuatu and this can be made possible with the help and participation of local churches and their communities.”