You can’t make a fat man skinny by tightening his belt. He has to shed the weight, which is painful, grueling and unpleasant. When it comes to good health, there’s seldom ever any shortcut. It’s not a mere destination you arrive at overnight, it’s a journey. A fact understood well by students and staff who braved the freezing July weather, turning up in their numbers for the JKUSA Health Drive, held from Thursday to Friday July 8-9, 2021. Health, after all, comes first.
As the last hour of the drive ticked away on Friday evening, hundreds still thronged the waiting bay, hoping to get the critical health services that were being offered free of charge.
Organized by JKUSA’s Health, Catering and Accommodation Secretary, Ms. Florence Cherotich and her committee, the drive was in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 3; Good Health and Well-being, aimed at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
“We’ve been organizing this for months now, going all the way back to January, and my hope is that this Health Drive accords every participant an opportunity to know their health status, take preventive measures, debunk myths about some common diseases, as well as gain useful tips on how to achieve good health through simple lifestyle changes,” said Ms. Cherotich.
Ms. Cardine Ambundo, a fourth-year student of Actuarial Science, and a member of the Health Drive organizing committee, expressed her delight at the success of the event, citing that they didn’t know they could pull off the event with so little to work with.
“We had a tight budget to work with from the JKUSA kitty, and we couldn’t conduct sufficient publicity and sensitization, but we’ve actually been overwhelmed by the turnout. This is an indicator that such an event means so much to students because it touches on their health. I just hope future health drives can run for more days, even a week, and bring on board more partners,” said Ms. Ambundo.
Services on offer included cervical and breast cancer screening, sexual reproductive health services, dental and eye check up, mental health services, TB screening, BMI, Blood Sugar, and blood pressure measurement, nutrition consultation, HIV testing and counselling, orthopedic consultation, among others. The services were also punctuated with a blood donation drive, which saw an overwhelming number of students and staff show up to offer life-saving pints.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi, who attended the drive, was particularly impressed by the large turnout of the University Community for the services, and the meticulous organization of the event.
“I am happy to note that so many of our students from the College of Health Sciences (COHES) have joined our partners in this drive to offer services to the University community, and get to practice what they have learnt in class,” she said.
Prof. Ngumi further elucidated the significance of the drive, citing it as a major way of promoting health seeking behavior among the University fraternity, and offering education on essential health tips and behavior change programmes.
“In recognition of the role you are playing as students, the University will continue to support similar initiatives particularly at a time such as this when the world is battling the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m glad that everyone here is wearing a mask. It is important we keep reminding each other of the health and safety guidelines provided by the government through the Ministry of Health,” she added.
The Health Drive was made possible through the invaluable partnership of the Mediheal Group of Hospitals, JKUAT Hospital, Arrow Dental, Marie Stopes, Bright Optics, Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services, Stop TB Partnership, Stowelink, Kenya Red Cross, the Health Drive Initiative, and the Jomo Kenyatta University Students’ Medical Association (JKUSMA).