BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, July 28, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Prime Minister’s Monthly Health Walk, which out of an abundance of caution took a hiatus after the last edition held on Saturday May 1, will resume on Saturday July 31 and will take participants on the regular Bellevue to Ottley’s route starting at 5:30 a.m.
“In resuming the Prime Minister’s Monthly Health Walk, we thought that now it is a good time to pick it back up because, number one, our vaccination levels are up, and a lot of people have been vaccinated,” said main organiser Ms Myrtilla Williams.
She noted that one the reasons why the vaccination drive was successful was for the fact that at a number of the Prime Minister’s Health Walks education drives were carried out to sensitise participants on the importance of vaccinations. One such drive was conducted by the National HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator and Health Educator, Dr Matthias Afortu-Ofre.
At the end of such health walks names of interested persons would be taken down and they would later be taken to the Sylvia Garnette Primary Health Care Facility in Tabernacle to take the vaccine.
“The Prime Minister himself did that for considerable period of time,” observed Ms Williams. “Every Saturday and any other day he donated his own personal time to ensure improved safety of constituents and anybody else from afar by taking them for vaccination. And so we think we are to try to get back onto our schedules as best as we could and this is one of the activities we can use to do that. The health walk is beneficial.”
Coming up in the face of the set Covid-19 protocols, the health walk organisers consulted with the Minister of Health, the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy, both who gave the green light for the Prime Minister’s Health Walk to resume taking into consideration the health walk follows an open route.
“The walk is like a contribution to the end result,” stated Ms Williams. “Our health is important and part of the fight, whether Covid or any other disease, is to ensure that our bodies and our immune system are in tiptop shape. Exercise is key, especially now that we have been under curfew for a long time, a lot of persons would have gained weight and so on. In the Caribbean region we have a growing problem with obesity, and so this organised health walk adds to the fight.”
Organisers of the Prime Minister’s Monthly Health Walk also took into account that Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, is also CARICOM’s lead spokesperson on human resources, health and HIV matters, and that he leads by example at home by encouraging people to lead healthy lifestyles and the monthly health walk is one of them.
The country is still under a nightly curfew which starts at 11:00 p.m. ending at 5:00 a.m. and Ms Myrtilla Williams noted that the walk’s starting time at 5:30 a.m. is to allow persons to leave their homes immediately when the curfew ends to give them time to be at the starting point, which is at bus stop in Bellevue Village, on time.
“We could not start the walk later than 5:30 a.m. as we have to consider the sun,” commented Ms Williams. “We want to try and get to the end point at Ottley’s before it gets too hot outside.”
In the meantime, SKN Moves, which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Health is gearing up to celebrate its second year of making the public aware of non-communicable diseases and encouraging movement through exercise routines.
Activities to mark the celebrations, which will begin in August and will run approximately for a month and a half, will include among others a health walk on Saturday August 7, and observance of Caribbean Wellness Week from September 12 to 17.