Bermuda Hospitals Board and Butterfield Bank Encourage Community to Take Advantage of Health Awareness Service

The Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB), in conjunction with the Butterfield Bank Employee Shared Trust (BEST), is offering an awareness programme to educate the community about prevalent health conditions in Bermuda. Healthcare professionals from the BHB and community support organizations are available to give one-hour presentations to businesses, schools, church groups, parent-teacher associations or any group with 20 or more people. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the BHB’s Education Services Department at 236-2345, ext. 1569 to book a presentation.

“Awareness is key to disease prevention and treatment. We strongly encourage businesses, schools and other groups in the community to take advantage of this free service that offers information about prevalent health conditions in Bermuda,” said Bradlyn Deshields, Manager of Education Services at the Bermuda Hospitals Board.

BEST provided start-up funding to facilitate the presentations and to produce a community health education directory. The directory outlines prevalent health conditions and lists organizations that provide support and information for those living with the disease and their loved ones. This resource is widely distributed throughout Bermuda in health clubs, post offices, doctors’ offices, gas stations, etc.

“BEST is pleased to support this important initiative, and we hope that companies and community groups will take the opportunity to increase their health awareness,” said Butterfield Bank employee Daniel Cooke, Chairman of BEST. Butterfield Bank has taken advantage of the programme by holding a series of popular ´Wellness Lunch & Learn´ seminars for employees, covering topics such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

Experts are available to deliver presentations about Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, breast cancer, depression, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, stroke or substance abuse. The following questions will be addressed in each presentation: What is this disease? How do you get it? How is it diagnosed? How is it treated? How can you maintain optimal health?

Several community support organizations are also involved in this initiative; namely: Allan Vincent Smith Foundation, Alzheimer’s Support Group, Family Support for Mental Health, Just Between Us/Reach to Recovery, Neverland Foundation, Open Airways, P.A.L.S and Star/Lighthouse.

Key Facts About 12 Prevalent Health Conditions in Bermuda

– Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in people over the age of 65. It is estimated that approximately five per cent of people in Bermuda over this age, and 20 per cent over the age of 85, are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
– Asthma is one of the leading medical conditions facing Bermuda residents. In 2002, 12 per cent of the population was diagnosed with asthma symptoms. Of these, 2,350 were under the age of 14.
– Improved screening practices are leading to earlier detection of breast cancer .
– Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how one feels, thinks and acts. This condition affects approximately 6,500 Bermudians each year.
– HIV and AIDS are the third leading cause of death in Bermuda after cancer and heart disease.
– As kidney disease becomes more progressive, kidneys lose their normal function of cleansing the blood of waste products and extra fluids. If this goes untreated, end stage kidney disease and/or death can result.
– Osteoporosis is a silent, progressive disease in which bones become fragile and brittle and sometimes break with trauma. This disease is best treated if diagnosed early to prevent such fractures.
– Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Its incidence rises with increasing age. It is more common in black males.
– In Bermuda, stroke is one of the major causes of long-term disability in the elderly. High blood pressure, diabetes and smoking all increase the risk of stroke.
– Substance abuse is a serious problem. A 2000-2001 survey by the Bermuda National Drug Commission found that, on average, drug use starts at age 14.

“The Bermuda Hospitals Board is proud to play a key role in this initiative. We are here to provide care to the community, and outreach programmes such as this one can go a long way toward raising awareness of diseases that affect many residents of Bermuda either directly or indirectly,” said Joan Dillas-Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the Bermuda Hospitals Board.


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