What's Happening
Published on February 17, 2011 by BMEX
BMEX 2010 provides a world of opportunities for everyone who attends.  The exhibition is a melting pot of culture, creativity and local innovation, with something for everyone one.  It is a true Bajan celebration.

At BMEX 2010 we also want to celebrate the work of agencies which work diligently to improve our lives and provide support when we find ourselves needing it most.   Two such agencies that you should look for at BMEX are The Hope Foundation and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados.  Both agencies will have a presence at BMEX with the express purpose of heightening awareness of their work, while at the same time providing the public with the opportunity to contribute financially to the selfless work that they do trying to keep our workforce healthy and productive.

The Hope Foundation which was founded in May 1991 has stuck steadfastly to its primary objective of creating awareness of three lesser known chronic illnesses Lupus, Arthritis, and Sickle Cell. This has been successfully executed by a group of dedicated and committed volunteers who share a common vision of quality living for all.

The Hope Foundation has over the last seventeen (17) years established strong support mechanisms that have allowed Barbadians to enjoy improved well-being. Much of their work necessitates patient advocacy and encourages institutional changes. As a result –Sickle Cell patients are now seen in the Accident and Emergency Department with the same priority as asthmatics

Education is a key driving force for the Foundation, recognizing that early diagnosis and effective management are critical components of well-being for persons affected by these diseases.  In this vein the Foundation provides opportunities for patients to be constantly educated through workshops for newly diagnosed patients

It is the Foundation’s belief that every effort must be employed to offer opportunities for those affected so that they may gain confidence and realize that they are employable and, for those who desire, an avenue to exercise their entrepreneurial skills. Efforts are focused on a healthier, sustainable workforce.

The Hope Foundation has also donated approximately $10,000 in equipment to the Physiotherapy Department of the QEH to increase the rehabilitation options for patients.  At BMEX 2010 their drive will be to raise funds to provide equipment for the Occupational Therapy Department at the QEH.   Occupational therapy (OT) facilitates the rehabilitation process for those with an injury, illness or disability, whether acute or chronic. The ultimate goal of the occupational therapist is to solve problems collaboratively with the client, so that they may become as functionally independent as possible in the activities of daily living.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation reports that “Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s largest killers, claiming 17.1 million lives a year. Tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.”   This startling fact is no different for us here in Barbados as Cardiovascular diseases are also the leading causes of death among our population.

The primary objective therefore of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados is to educate and encourage us to keep our hearts healthy and to reduce suffering and death from heart disease and stroke.  One of their key initiatives is the Cardiac Disease Prevention and Rehabilitation Programme (CDP&R).  This programme offers specific cardiovascular rehabilitation through regular prescribed and monitored exercise, dietary and psychological counselling and the education of persons who have had heart surgery, heart attack, heart failure, stroke or are at special risk of the foregoing. The Foundation presently provides a rehabilitation service free of cost to indigent patients of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital who have had heart surgery, a heart attack or heart failure.

Other projects and programmes include publishing a quarterly magazine – Heartline; publishing a monthly fully page in the Daily Nation called “PULSE”; the hosting of Barbados Heart & Stroke Week;  maintaining an up to date website - www.hsfbarbados.org; developing community “Healthy Hearts” clubs; developing community outreach programmes; educational outreach through TV, radio and national press; Health Fairs; the promotion of a Tobacco Free Society and providing counselling pre and post heart operation or stroke.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc. is a non-profit organisation founded in 1985 as the Heart Foundation of Barbados and in 2006 embraced stroke to become the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados. As a non-governmental organisation it receives no funding from government. To this end, they are heavily dependent upon donations and fees to carry out their work; they also rely considerably upon the financial support of individual Barbadians.  That is the support they are looking for at BMEX 2010. So have a heart, drop by their booth, learn about the Foundation and make a personal donation. We all know someone who has had a challenge with their heart; let’s do our part.

Look out for The Hope foundation and The Hearth and Stroke Foundation of Barbados at BMEX 2010, Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, May 21- 24th, 2010; 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.

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