#Bahamas, April 12, 2021 – More than 350 persons participated in the University of The Bahamas (UB) Virtual UBFIT Fun Run Walk Bike Skate Push 5K/10K race that happened over the weekend in a tangible display of support for wellness and the University.
In its fourth year, but the first in a virtual format, the UBFIT race attracted participants in Exuma, Andros, Long Island, New Providence, Grand Bahama and internationally as the excitement spread. Each participant completed either a 5K or 10K race course on their own, as a family, or in small groups and submitted the results tracked in their apps in order to receive a finisher’s medal. The event was held from 9th to 11th April.
“Despite the pandemic and the many restrictions we faced, as a committee, we re-envisioned what UBFIT could look like this year in a virtual capacity,” said Ms. Kandice Eldon, UBFIT Co-Chair and UB Executive Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations. “And we are so pleased that members of the public, corporate Bahamas and the University participated in such a major way.”
UBFIT has become one of UB’s staple community building and fundraising initiatives. In its inaugural year, more than 500 people participated, consequently contributing to UB’s Annual Fund and supporting the goal of increased mobility for students with special needs. The event grew from the University’s annual Health and Safety Week, held under the theme “Fit. Healthy. Safe.”
To date, more than $180,000 has been collectively raised from sponsorships, registrants and generous in-kind donations. Funds raised this year from UBFIT will support the COVID-19 Technology Relief Fund and Annual Fund to provide laptops, tablets and other technology for students in need.
“We have exceeded our fundraising and registration goal with more than 350 registrants who participated especially dedicated community running groups, friends of UB, and corporate Bahamas,” said Ms. Eldon. “I wish to thank all of our sponsors and title sponsor Oaktree Medical Center for joining us for the next three years as we expand this health and wellness initiative.”
Oaktree Medical Center Director Dr. Don Diego Deveaux noted that he was more than happy to be UBFIT’s title sponsor as the health and education of a nation is its wealth.
“To whom much is given, much is required, and for the Oaktree family the opportunity to partner with University of The Bahamas for UBFIT represents many of the core values we believe in and is picture perfect and timely,” said Dr. Deveaux. “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with University of The Bahamas and encourage corporate Bahamas to continue doing the same.”
Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) Company Ltd. was another corporate partner and expressed pride in being a founding UBFIT sponsor.
“We have committed to improving the lives of Bahamians by improving access to safe, reliable and affordable energy, and we believe University of The Bahamas is equally as committed to improving the lives of Bahamians by both preparing our young people for a job and preparing them to thrive in their overall lives,” said Mr. Quincy Parker, BPL Director of Public Relations. “UBFIT targets its fundraising to help people discover and live out their own, individual purpose and find purposeful work, and we at BPL are proud to help that effort succeed.”
Additional corporate and in-kind sponsors of Virtual UBFIT included Bahamas First, J.S. Johnson, Leno Corporate Services Ltd., Public Hospitals Authority, Walk-In Clinic, BowFlex Barbie, Caribbean Bottling Company and UB’s Alumni Association.
Participants in New Providence collected their finisher’s medals at a drive-by collection site on Sunday, 11th April at UB’s main entrance on University Drive.
Release: University of The Bahamas
For photos and video of UBFIT race participation visit the UBFIT Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UBFIT2021
Header: Check presentation with University President Dr. Rodney D. Smith; Vice President, Division of Institutional Advancement, Dino Hernandez; Oaktree Medical Center Medical Director Dr. Don D. Deveaux along with UBFIT Leadership team. (UB file photo)
Insert: BPL Check Presentation: From left: Ms. Inga Bostwick, UBFIT Co-Chair, Assistant Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, University of The Bahamas; Mr. Quincy Parker, Director of Public Relations, Bahamas Power and Light Company; and Ms. Kandice Eldon, UBFIT Co-Chair, Executive Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, University of The Bahamas.
CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases
October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.
The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).
During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.
The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit. The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.
The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.
Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.
More information on the Project can be found at: https://www.carpha.org/Projects/Ongoing-Projects/Strengthening-Strategic-Intelligence-and-Partnership-Approaches-To-Prevent-and-Control-NCDs-and-Strengthen-Regional-Health-Security-In-The-Caribbean
World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 14 October, 2021. In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes). According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.
Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.
Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind. Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience blindness.
CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.
Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.
Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.
Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment. CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need. Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.
World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October. The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.
The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’
Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:
- Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
- Spend time outside. Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)
- Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
- If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year
Your sight cannot be taken for granted. It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!
RBDF Congratulates Retired Commander Defence Force on National Honour Award
During a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street, Commodore Smith was presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith. Also in attendance were his daughter, Mrs. Italia Seymour, and the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King.
Commodore Smith was one of sixteen other deserving individuals recognized on National Heroes Day for the vast contributions they made to the development of the country. The first Bahamian Officer to be appointed as Commander Defence Force, he is the longest-serving Commodore to serve this office from 1983 to 1997.
Throughout his military career, he received numerous awards and accolades, and his career in public life spanned over forty years, and on September 19, 2014, an RBDF Legend Class Vessel bearing his name was commissioned. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is truly grateful for the devoted services of Commodore Smith to the organization and his country.
Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King extends congratulations on his behalf of the members of his Executive Command, Officers, Senior Enlisted, and Junior Enlisted members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, to Commodore Retired Leon Smith, on his great accomplishment.
Header: Commodore Retired Leon Smith being presented with the Order of Distinction within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, by Governor-General, the Most Honorable Sir Cornelius A. Smith on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.
Insert: Commodore Retired Leon Smith along with recipients of the 2021 National Honours Awards on October 11, 2021, during a ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, West Bay Street.
(RBDF Photos by Able Seaman Paul Rolle II)
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