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Training Camps announced early as more can join the Footsteps4Good Challenge

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Last year’s participants were the first ones to ever circumnavigate the Turks and Caicos solely on manpower and this year they’re back again and with a broader vision for the challenge which is also a charity.  It’s time for the second staging of Footsteps4Good and if you missed out last year you’ll want to get in on the event in 2022.

Coming up this October and organized by Governor’s wife Amanda Dakin , TCI Red Cross, OneTCI, and the Provo Road Runners, this year&#39’s adventure will span 13 days and 200 miles in an adventurous crossing of the islands and cays of the TCI once again. The organizers say there will be sections and stages to suit all abilities and fitness levels.  Contributions will be nominal, from $20 for the stage being entered by any participant.

The announcement is going out early this year so that all the ‘fitness fanatics’ who want to take on the entire 13-day journey of hiking, rowing and extreme walking will be able to join the fitness training camps to get them ready for the physically grueling experience.

It is no joke.  From blisters to burns to bites and flat out exhaustion; it will take grit to get it done and join up as part of history in the making.

Organisers point out that not many people can say they have gone around the TCI just using their bodies; and they ask: ‘will you be one this year?’

For those who don’t want to try defying the odds, you can participate in single-day events on the family islands including run-walks, boating, and cycling or just making a financial donation.

For more information, you can email info2022fsfg@gmail.com

Health

How to protect against HIV 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 15, 2024 – HIV/AIDS has killed more than 40 million people globally since it first appeared in the human population in 1959 according to the World Health Organization WHO and even though there are effective treatments there is no cure making prevention practices a top priority for vulnerable groups.

In recent months claims have emerged of rising cases locally creating concern in some Turks and Caicos residents.  The Ministry of Health has remained silent on the issue and has not published relevant statistics despite repeated queries from Magnetic Media.

Given the continued presence of the virus, individuals are still at risk from infection. In fact the WHO says in 2022, when 630,000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.3 million people acquired HIV.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus behind AIDS, the most advanced form of HIV.

The virus spreads through the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs or sharing food.

With this in mind there are several steps that residents can take to protect themselves including

  • Using condoms during sex
  • Limiting sexual partners
  • Being tested regularly
  • avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
  • Using personal protective gear when dealing with bodily fluids

Vulnerable populations can be administered Pre Exposure Prophylaxis which work to prevent infection and Post Exposure Prophylaxis which can prevent the virus from taking hold.

An HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence.  In 2024 HIV can be treated and prevented with antiretroviral therapy (ART). These drugs strengthen the immune system which HIV weakens significantly.

Still the WHO encourages residents to take preventative action.

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Health

CARPHA: Take Action to Avoid the Harmful Effects of Saharan Dust

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February 16, 2024 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging persons to protect themselves against adverse health effects of a Saharan dust plume, which has covered many parts of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in a Dust Bulletin dated February 9th, 2024 stated, “it is highly likely that particulate matter levels will be above the 24-hour outdoor air quality guidelines” as established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA, explained “Saharan dust worsens air quality and increases the levels of particulate matter in the air.  This can be hazardous, especially to small children, older adults and people with underlying lung conditions and chronic cardiopulmonary diseases”.  Dr St John added, “Saharan dust can also worsen the health symptoms of those who suffer from asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)”.

In light of the poor air quality levels, CARPHA is encouraging persons to take steps to avoid the harmful effects of Saharan dust. These include:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and when outdoors, wear a dust mask (eg. KN95)
  • Utilise a HEPA filter indoors to purify air in individual rooms
  • Persons who use medications for pulmonary conditions should carry them at all times and use as prescribed
  • At the first sign of difficulty while breathing, seek professional medical advice immediately
  • For less severe symptoms, standard allergy medications such as antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may alleviate symptoms

For more information, please see excerpts from the attached CIMH Dust Bulletin.

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The Department of Behavioural Health Services Offers Strategies on Managing Emotional Distress Due to Gun Violence

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Exposure to gun violence can have a tremendous impact on a persons’ mental health. Whether you are directly involved in an incident of gun violence, a witness to a shooting, or simply hear about the events on the news, you too can become traumatized or develop symptoms of a mental health disorder.

With horrifying stories of gun violence flooding news headlines around the country, a lot of persons are feeling shocked, fearful, and deeply unsafe. It is therefore important that we keep mental health at the forefront of our conversations about crime due to its impact on our mental wellbeing.

 The Department of Behavioral Health Services wishes to advise persons who have been exposed to gun violence to be aware the following symptoms and to reach out for help if you need to:

 Physical symptoms

Following a traumatic event, your body can enter a state of hypervigilance and anxiety, with symptoms such as: chest tightness, dizziness, rapid breathing, cold sweats, trembling, and aches and pains. Other physical symptoms include:

  • Unfocused thoughts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns

Emotional symptoms

Emotional symptoms of trauma can encompass all sorts of feelings, ranging from numbness to despair to fury.  You may also feel:

  • Disbelief
  • Persistent fear
  • Grief
  • Helplessness 
  • Anger   

Symptoms specifically affecting children

The trauma surrounding shootings can have harmful effects on developing minds. Children do not necessarily have to see the violence with their own eyes. Just hearing about it through the media can shatter a child’s sense of safety and affect their mental health.

There is research evidence to support the claim that exposure to gun violence is associated with:

  • Withdrawal
  • Anger
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Learning difficulties

Coping Tips

Although this can all seem overwhelming, you do not have to feel helpless. While reducing gun violence requires a community effort, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your mental health after traumatic events unfold. You can help yourself, your children and other loved ones cope with the stress and difficult emotions in the aftermath of violence.

 Tip #1 Acknowledge difficult feelings

  •             Be patient with yourself
  •             Connect with your emotions
  •             Find healthy ways to express your feelings

Tip #2 Empower yourself

  •             Learn about the problem
  •             Find ways to get involved in helping others

Tip #3 Connect with others

  •             Engage in positive social interactions
  •             Connect with other survivors
  •             Enjoy lighthearted outings

Tip # 4 Manage stress

  •             Explore relaxation techniques
  •             Reduce exposure to violent media
  •             Make time for what you enjoy

 The Department of Behavioural Health Services is encouraging all persons to take special care of their mental health and to reach out to a mental health professional if your need further assistance.

For more information on gun violence and supporting your mental health, contact the Department of Behavioural Health Services on the following numbers:

– 338-3613 Grand Turk

– 338-3616- Providenciales

https://www.facebook.com/TCIDBHS

https://www.gov.tc/dmhsd/

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