Location: Harts Residents, Nasinu & Galoa Village, Serua   Report by: Joji Liga, Sports Development Manager

The Fiji National Sports Commission in conjunction with the Ministry of Health’s Wellness Department, and National Sporting Organizations  facilitated two very successful Wellness and Sports Program for Harts Residents in Nasinu on Saturday 30 April, 2016 and mothers and youths for villages in Serua at Galoa Village in Serua on Friday 20 May.

While the Nasinu Program attracted 176 residents of the eight (8) HART Homes in Nasinu, a total of 320 participants participated in the Galoa event.

Both programs started with screening of participants by measuring the height and body weight to determine BMI scores. Also there were blood and sugar level tests to determine health status of participants. During the medical screening some referrals were made meaning that there are individuals in the communities who think and feel they are healthy and sound until screenings like such are conducted.

At the end of the screening, participants took part in sports activities. The sports of volleyball, AFL and rugby league were part of the Galoa Program while basketball, rugby league, cricket and AFL were part of the Nasinu HART Homes Program.

The days program included; NCD awareness talk by MOH officials, mixed intensity aerobics for the different age groups. Participants were then divided into groups to participate in activities provided by the different National Sporting Bodies that were part of the program. Officers of the various sports had a chance to display and market the sport through the program as teaching by the officers were tailored for the needs of the different age groups.

The newly built Nasinu Multi-Purpose Court was a hype of activities as residents of HART had the facility to themselves. Lunch followed then the continuation of sports activities. The climax of the day was the involvement of the older citizens who took part in the aerobics sessions and received health tips from MOH officials. They remained to support their family members throughout the day. It was a good sight to see the whole family involved in a day of physical activities and fun.

Then the mothers of the community played games of netball. It was encouraging to see mums who played the sport many years ago jump on the court and showcase those skills much to the delight and excitement of their children cheered them on from the sideline. A mixed netball game followed to end the day’s program.

In Galoa village participants from the villages down the Queen’s Road Highway from Deuba Village all the way down to Serua Island attended the one day program.

Two doctors were engaged in the Galoa Program while other medical officials helped out in different areas of screening. Consultations were provided for individuals who were screened and particularly those who needed immediate medical attention were referred for further assessments.

The inclusion of the sports components in the program has been very positive as it injected into participants the urge to take to physical activity to combat NCD’s in the communities. The Galoa program ended with a Volleyball Competition where prizes were awarded to the winners. The message is clear, it is not about winning but participation. Wellness starts with developing the right attitudes towards physical activity. The presence of sports on the day is very positive from that viewpoint.

There were some important observations from the two programs as lessons going forward when working to combat Non-Communicable Diseases or NCD’s in the country.

  1. The need to combat NCD is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Health alone but everyone.
  2. We can utilize our resources and services to assist in a program if we really champion combat of NCD’s
  3. Sport plays a big part in the fight against NCD’s considering the psychological impact of sport on individuals
  4. The availability of sporting facilities in urban and semi urban areas particularly in the densely populated areas like housing settlements in towns and cities.
  5. A proactive approach by sporting bodies to promote their sport through a come and try concept  where the basics of the sport are incorporated into fun and skills development approaches
  6. Funding support is required by those stakeholders or individuals, not necessary government who have a strong desire towards the fight against NCD’s.

The Serua Provincial Office has already requested a whole province Wellness Day in September after witnessing the success of the Galoa Program.

The Fiji National Sports Commission is committed to the fight against NCD’s and commends the Ministry of Health for the effort the Wellness Department has put into the project. It is a great opportunity to work with other departments of government and identify how they could contribute to the fight given the services they offer.

More programs as such have been organized across other centre’s in Fiji by the Fiji National Sports Commission and the Ministry of Health for the year and we hope that the public will continue to utilise this opportunity to learn how to change living habits, improve diet, and move those bodies to lower the risks of non-communicable diseases.