‘Way of Life’ – Health and Education Exhibition 2018 : ‘Empowering school children to act as change agents’ | Sunday Observer

‘Way of Life’ – Health and Education Exhibition 2018 : ‘Empowering school children to act as change agents’

7 January, 2018

Under the Rotary International Themes ‘Disease Prevention and Treatment’ and ‘Literacy and Education’, Rotary District 3220 (Sri Lanka and Maldives) will be showcasing an exhibition on Health, Nutrition, Wellness, Leisure, Sports, Longevity and Education titled ‘Way of Life.’ It will be held from January 13 to 14 at the Nuga Sewana and Mihilaka Convention Halls of BMICH.

“The exhibition is coordinated by the Rotary club of Sri Jayewardenepura. It will comprise 65 stalls set up by the government and private sectors,” said Dr. Thusara Matiwalage at a press briefing held at the Sri Lanka Dental Association Auditorium recently. Ven. Dr. Somavansa Thera, Governor Rotary District 3220, Dr. Thusara Matiwalage, President, Rotary Club of Sri Jayawardenapura, Namal Gunawardene, Treasurer, Rotary Club of Sri Jayawardenapura, Jerome Rajendran, District Chair – Service and Puspi Weerakoon, District Chair – Literacy and Education were present.

Ven. Dr. Somavansa Thera said, “The objective of this exhibition is to create a national dialogue on practical actions to be taken for a positive transformation in Health and Education by showcasing insightful information on Prevention and treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) which is the leading cause of death in Sri Lanka. Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Chronic Lung Disease, Diabetes, Kidney Disease and Irritable Bowel Disorder falls under the NCD’s.”

“NCD’s could be significantly reduced and prevented. The knowledge and technology to fight the onset and effects of NCD’s already exist so it is the time to act to save future generations from the health and socio-economic harm of such diseases. Sri Lanka needs a healthy generation to take over the country for achieving the goals and targets in the future. Children and youth nowadays are facing different health risks. There is a growing tendency among both children as well as adults to prefer unhealthy choices and lifestyles due to commercialization and media advertisements. Malnutrition, anemia, overweight, obesity and NCD’s such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancers are increasing among children,” he explained.

“There is a need of an accelerated and focused program to inculcate health behaviours in the community. Creating ‘Change agents’ to bring about the healthy changes in society is one of the most successful and cost-effective methods available. Empowering school children to act as ‘change agents’ will be helpful to prevent NCD’s among the future. Our aim is to have physically, mentally and socially healthy children capable of acting as ‘change agents’ in society and setting examples of healthy living. Preventing and controlling NCD’s will greatly depend on action taken by non-health sectors. The health sector, acting alone, cannot curb the threat. All sectors of government and society must work together to start fighting the epidemics. NCD prevention is everyone’s duty and every sector can help in the prevention and management of NCD’s,” he added.

Puspi Weerakoon said that UNESCO rates Sri Lanka’s literacy as 92% among people aged 15 or over who can read and write. “It is higher than that expected for a lower middle income country. To further increase this national standard, exhibits on display will include early child education, effective and experimental learning and modern teaching techniques in addition to positive and mindful habits,” she said.

Prof. Yukio Yamori, Director of Institute for World Health Development in Nishinomiya, Japan and Dr. Mari Mori, National Dietitian and Senior Lecturer in Mukogawa University Japan have done a research on lifestyle related diseases and nutritional status of Sri Lankan students with Sri Lankan experts in nutritional field in collaboration with Rotary District Disease Prevention and Treatment Program, Sri Lanka. “The research findings yielded many health related issues that need to be addressed without delay,” said Dr. Thusara Matiwalage.

Pic Shan Rupassara