The Ministry of Health is partnering with civil society, including faith-based organisations, in its drive to encourage more Barbadians to take responsibility for lifestyle choices which impact their health.

Speaking at a health expo, sponsored by the Seventh Day Adventists??? East Caribbean Conference in Queen???s Park on Monday, Health Minister John Boyce noted: ???Barbadians have the power and must use that power to improve their own health.???

This was critical, he said, particularly because many of the chronic conditions Barbadians faced, from diabetes to coronary heart disease, were greatly influenced by individual lifestyle choices.

He praised the Seventh Day Adventists??? initiative, noting that faith-based organisations were well placed to deliver the message of wellness through a captive audience which saw the linkages between health and spiritual well-being.

And, he urged more faith-based organisations to extend their reach into the wider community, targeting those who they might have difficulty attracting to their doors.

Mr. Boyce stated: ???Increasingly, we are seeing spiritual values incorporated into the holistic model of disease prevention and wellness promotion. We know that faith-based organisations are vital to the communities in which they are located and that now, more than ever, they should be engaged as partners. This legacy of caring, shared between health care providers and faith-based organisations, is the premise of our continued collaboration.???

Last March, the Ministry reached out to 12 faith-based organisations inviting them to a special prevention and control meeting. This resulted in a document called the Declaration of Bridgetown, a call to action by the organisations to embrace the message of disease prevention.

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