Empowering the Future - Diabetes Awareness Health Fair at RGD Lelydorp


Suriname, November 22, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) - In an effort to promote health and well-being among the younger generation, the Regional Health Department (RGD) in Lelydorp hosted an interactive health fair on Tuesday, November 21, in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Health (BOG), the Ministry of Health, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Suriname. The health fair marked the observance of World Diabetes Day and aimed to raise awareness about diabetes and hypertension, with a special focus on children.

The health fair, held at the Regional Health Department in Lelydorp, featured a range of activities tailored to educate and engage children in understanding and preventing diabetes. The key highlights of the fair included health screenings for kids, informative sessions for teachers, and interactive discussions on diabetes and hypertension.

Children had the opportunity to undergo health screenings to detect early signs of diabetes and hypertension. Those with elevated glycemic levels and other risk factors were referred to healthcare professionals for further consultation, emphasizing the importance of early detection and intervention.
The health fair wasn't just about screenings; it was a holistic approach to health education. Teachers received valuable information to enhance their understanding of diabetes and hypertension, enabling them to advocate and educate their students effectively. The aim is to create awareness with teachers becoming ambassadors for health education in their classrooms.

Building a healthier future starts with empowering our children through knowledge. By engaging in activities that not only impart information on preventing diseases but also cultivate informed messengers of health among the youth, we create a ripple effect that extends to families and communities. Together, we lay the groundwork for a society that is not only healthier but also more resilient. – Dr. Raquel Mahoque Maguele, PAHO Advisor, Noncommunicable Disease and Mental Health

Parents were not left out of the equation. Children received informative materials to take home, providing parents with insights into preventing and managing diabetes and hypertension in their families. The goal is to empower parents to make informed choices about their children's health and well-being.

One of the notable aspects of the health fair was its interactivity. The organizers ensured that the activities were engaging and enjoyable for children, making the learning experience memorable. By fostering a positive and interactive environment, the event succeeded in conveying important health messages in an approachable manner.
In the spirit of knowledge-sharing, parents were encouraged to discuss what their children had learned at the event. This sharing of information among families further amplifies the impact of the awareness campaign, creating a community that is well-informed about the preventive measures against diabetes and hypertension.

Instead of another mini-fair with information for adults, we wanted to try something different this time. I pitched the idea of hosting an interactive event with children, especially since research revealed an increase in sugar levels and higher obesity rates among kids compared to previous data. It's all about adapting and finding new ways to address health concerns in our community. – Dr. Aloysius Koentjbiharie RGD Program Coordinator

The collaborative efforts of the RGD, BOG, Ministry of Health, and PAHO Suriname made this Diabetes Day health fair a success, leaving a lasting impression on the children, teachers, and parents who participated. As we reflect on this initiative, it is evident that empowering the youth with knowledge is a crucial step toward building a healthier and more informed community.