Connecting local responses around the world
May 2010: Children and communities from the Districts of Hambantota, Polonnaruwa and Ampara in the remote areas of Sri Lanka presented their experiences in health promotion in an international pre-conference symposium on health promotion held in Sri Lanka
today. The presenters were children and communities who are already voluntarily involved in promoting health within their own communities as well as others.
The Pre-Conference Symposium was held on Sunday 23 May 2010, at Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo amidst of a well attended audience of community members, children, academics, epidemiologists, policy makers, health officials, university staff and students from Sri Lanka and overseas.
One of the highlights of the symposium was the remarkably inspirational presentation made by three members of a children’s club from Ampara, some 300Km away from the capital Colombo. Their presentation was based on the variety of health promotion activities they have initiated and successfully carried out in their community. This included, upgrading health facilities, promoting hygiene, good eating habits, physical exercises, community work, improving family well-being, which they have identified as key to promoting good health in their
Following are some of the highlights of the presentation:
We could change the way our elders perceived us
“We saw the need for a proper place for the midwife (Public Health Midwife) to carry out the monthly weighing of babies. She used a jack tree to hang the weighing scale. We collected timber and other material from the village and the jungle to put up a shelter. When we asked our parents for help, first they did not have confidence in us. But as we progressed, they willingly supported us and now our village midwife has a permanent child care centre”
We should let parents feel our love
“We wondered how we can improve our relationship and respect to parents. Therefore, for our birthdays we thought we would give a gift to our parents in appreciation of their efforts and hard work put on us. We were able to bring happy thoughts and good relationships” explained one of the 10 year old child presenters.
“We learnt how to calculate the BMI (Body Mass Index) and calculated the BMI of our mothers and told them what they should do to keep fit. We told them what they should eat and when to do physical exercises. After three months, we are happy that our mothers who needed to gain weight did so and others who needed to, lost weight”.
The Pre Conference Symposium on “Health Promotion” was jointly organized by Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Health Education Bureau of the Ministry of Health and Plan Sri Lanka, as a premise to the 10th South East Asia Regional Scientific Meeting of the International Epidemiological Association (IEA) from 24th through 26th May 2010.The event was aimed to provide insights as to how community participation could enhance, and the extent to which empowered communities can contribute to, the overall improvement of health status of populations. This was based on a concept put forward by Plan Sri Lanka.