Students from the Nutrition track of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), School of Public Health, Hohoe, have organised a free health screening for parishioners of the St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church.
The screening was aimed at creating awareness, educating as well as empowering the beneficiaries towards healthy living and consumption of nutritious diets.
Miss Cheryl Isabella Arbenser, a Student Coordinator of the outreach team in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), disclosed that as students, they went on a fact-finding mission on what the community needed and how they could meet the needs.
She said they found that hypertension was generally common and decided to come out with awareness creation, educating the people, screen and empower them in such a way that they could take care of their general being on their own.
Miss Arbenser said they were not only screening the parishioners but came with counsellors who would talk to the beneficiaries, identify their needs and offer the necessary help in improving their quality of life.
The team was grouped into Screening, Counselling and Questionnaire sessions, checked blood pressure, weight, and body mass index which were indicators of the beneficiaries’ nutritional status.
She said the team would gather feedback from the event, improve upon it and might extend such services to other churches and organisations.
Rev Fr Isaac Benuyenah, Parish Priest of the Church, urged the congregants to make good use of the gesture and availed themselves to be checked.
Miss Michelle Bedzra, a Level 300 Nutrition Course Representative and member of the Team’s Counselling Session noted that the body mass index of the beneficiaries was calculated to check if they were in the normal ranges, overweight or obese.
She said beneficiaries who were at risk, are counselled on their diets adding that such problems arose from an unbalanced diet and lack of regular exercise.
Miss Bedzra said the counselling was also aimed at prompting beneficiaries to take their eating habits seriously to prevent threats being posed to them.
Dr Isaac Agbemafle, a Lecturer at the University, said the event also created the platform for students to get the skills in counselling people and hand-on practices as well as a learning process for them.
He said the public needed to be mindful of their health and what they eat in the era of COVID-19 adding that “most of us are walking around dead so it is always important that we try and check our health status at least every six months.”
The Lecturer said there was the need to also encourage the public on their diet and could help them fight against the virus as well as determine whether they would be “well tomorrow or die early.”
Dr Agbemafle noted that frequent check-ups revealed the actual status of an individual and the risk factors that they had since the factors could lead one to death without their knowledge.
“So, you sleep and then you don’t wake up again. It may be that you had high blood pressure and then it went up while you were asleep or you had low blood sugar which was too low that there was no way you could have survived.”
Some beneficiaries who interacted with the GNA lauded the students for organising the screening adding that it gave them the opportunity to check their health status and improve on their diets for healthy living.