The Seventh-day Adventist Church, known for its belief and strong emphasis in wholistic health, has joined forces with the Ministry of Health to impact Jamaica in its fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Through the church’s Mission Project 2019 initiative themed “Wholistic Health for Personal and National Transformation,” the church gave its undertaking to adopt 100 government clinics under its adopt-a-clinics program to see to the upgrade of physical infrastructures where necessary and educate Jamaicans who use the facilities among other things.
Mission Project 2019
“We will encourage churches within the region where some 100 clinics were identified by the Ministry of Health to visit their local health facilities and identify opportunities to provide support to the health professionals, explained Pastor Everett Brown, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica during a press conference held on Jan. 8, 2019, at the church’s eastern region headquarters in Kingston.
“This may be in the form of assisting in improving or effecting repairs to the physical environment, such as painting, repairs, supplying equipment needed, as funds are available to make the working environment more attractive to workers and clients.”
The church will also provide qualified and competent personnel to do the presentations through the Adventist Health Professionals Association-AHPA, which it has in each of its five regions.
“Good health today has to be described not as an occasion, it has to be more profoundly seen as a lifestyle, it is not an event as important as events are, it is a habit, it is what we practice on an ongoing basis said Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health.
“That is why I like this partnership because this partnership is very in tune with the philosophy of the Church generally but more specifically as it relates to the Seventh-day Adventist congregation. We have to get Jamaicans to recognize that their health cannot be occasioned by sporadic intervention of taking care of themselves.”
“I say to persons when we discuss public health is that for too long as a people and as a country that our interpretation of good health has been one-sided and jaundiced in terms of the fundamental views and it has misdirected some of the focus that I believe otherwise should be redirected.”
Dr. Tufton emphasized that for too long focus has been on the number of hospitals there are or the number of doctors, or the number of beds available in hospitals. “What that means is that we are focused more on the curative side of health care, fixing the problem after the problem exist and very little effort focused on how do we prevent the problem from getting there in the first place,” said Tufton.
Some of the projects included in Mission Project 2019 are health expos and health fairs, health symposiums and seminars, exercise clubs, health walk/runs, and cooking classes.
The epicentre of Mission Project 2019 is in the western region, where citizens in Savanna-la-mar, Lucea and Santa Cruz will also benefit. A major health expo will take place at the Sam Sharpe Square on February 2.
Endorsement of Jamaica Moves Program
The Seventh-day Adventist Church also used the occasion to endorse the Health Ministry’s Jamaica Moves program which is in line with the church’s core values and beliefs in wholistic health.
“We commend the efforts of the Ministry of Health (MOH), in particular Jamaica Moves, which emphasises exercise, eating healthy and adopting a healthful lifestyle. We are not only here to endorse the initiative but we will be partnering with the MOH as we seek to improve the lives of our citizens,” said Pastor Brown.
“Today for us, certainly for me, is a significant occasion,” said Dr. Tufton. “It represents an opportunity where an institution, the Seventh-day Adventist church through its endorsement of this Jamaica Moves Initiative, its network of individuals and congregations across the country, its longevity of existence in Jamaica and critically and core to all of this, its core value belief, it philosophy of serving the wholistic man as oppose to the partial man is a match made in Heaven.”
Since 2018, the Adventist Church has been involved in “Mission Project 2019”. In addition to the evangelistic aspect, a major component is the focus on health. Many health-related community outreach projects have been undertaken and will continue to be carried out in various communities across the island via the over 750 congregations.
To give support to this major health initiative, more than dozens of world church leaders, headed by the President of the Adventist World Church Pastor Ted Wilson will be in Jamaica next month for a global leadership summit on healthy lifestyle. They will also join the church across the western region communities already inlvoved in promoting healthful living.
Plans are underway to share health presentations to various sectors and groups including the security force, teachers, business personnel, the clergy and more, church leaders said.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica has more than 307,000 church members worshiping in 750 congregations. The Church oversees 29 primary and secondary schools, a university and a hospital.