SVG nursing, renal failure groups stage inaugural major health fair

SVGNAN President Celia Bramble.
Photo courtesy of Celia Bramble
Photo courtesy of Celia Bramble

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York (SVGNAN), Inc. is collaborating with the Brooklyn-based Caribbean-American Renal Failure Fund Committee (CARFRF) in staging an inaugural, major health fair on Saturday, June 22, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.

The health fair will take place at 813 Sterling Place in Brooklyn, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

According to retired Registered Nurse Celia Bramble, SVGNAN president, the primary goal of the all-day event is to “educate the community on disease prevention and health maintenance.

“The health fair is an educational and interactive event designed for outreach,” said Bramble in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview.

“It is a means of bringing free health services to the community – services that some community members would go without due to lack of resources, lack of knowledge, or due to non-resident immigration status,” added Bramble, who recently retired from the sprawling Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn as the associate executive director of Training and Organizational Development after 42 years of service.

“The major focus of the health fair is to educate community members on issues of relevance to them that they might not otherwise learn about, and inform them of local, governmental and national resources that may be of assistance to them,” continued Bramble, also a retired colonel in the United States Army Reserve.

Additionally, with the anticipated closure of many hospitals in the Caribbean community in New York, she said the health fair will provide “information that will help participants make decisions on when to seek emergency care.”

Bramble said the main objectives are to increase health awareness by providing health screenings, education and counseling; increase participants’ awareness of national, state and local health services and resources; motivate participants to make positive health behavior changes and promote healthy living habits; and teach self- care practices.

“We act as counselors, teachers and advocates for the community,” she said, stating that the target group is anyone from infancy to gerontology (womb to tomb).

While it is very difficult to predict with any level of certainty who would attend the fair, Bramble said the groups are providing information that will benefit every age group and ethnicity.

She said the fair comprises a variety of vendors and exhibitors that will inform the community on all aspects of health, wellness, nutrition, access, health care coverage, among others, “so that they will become more informed citizens.”

Bramble said the health fair consists of a variety of screenings and assessments, as well as information booths with literature on various types of diseases and conditions affecting the community.

The screenings, assessments and information booths comprise, among others, health screenings; blood pressure monitoring; blood glucose monitoring; asthma assessments; elder care and abuse; suicide prevention; domestic violence; teen violence; foot care; medical coverage information, including coverage for certain non-documented residents; and information on women, infants and children (WIC) programs.

In addition, Bramble said activities include face paintings for kids and mini education sessions throughout the day, lasting 15-20 minutes each, on selected topics and issues.

Bramble said the idea of the health fair emerged during SVGNAN’s monthly meetings.

Since members of SVGNAN assist with health fairs at various churches, schools and other community organizations, she said they “thought it was time for us to reach out to the community by doing our own and partnering with CARFRF since they share similar goals and objectives.”

Bramble said SVGNAN was founded in 1990 “to assist in the improvement of health care systems in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the State of New York.”

CARFRF, the brainchild of former St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ New York Consul General Cosmus Cozier, will this year celebrate its 12th anniversary with gospel concerts, in raising funds for Vincentian nationals afflicted with kidney disease.

For more information, call Bramble at (718) 763-9751; or RN Judith Lewis at (347) 782-7921.

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