Your health is your wealth
We have the greatest impact on our society when Christians are able to solve the biggest problems of the city. For Amsterdam-Zuidoost the largest need is: loneliness, health issues and low education. All three of them lead to isolation.
In this context we developed the health campaign 'Your health is your wealth'. A free check of the blood pressure and/or blood sugar was offered to passers-by. In addition to that the passers-by got information about healthy food and cooking and a healthy lifestyle.
This health campaign was the second time that pastors and church members of the PCC (Pentecostal Councel of Churches), Transform Our World NL, doctors and specialists of the Academic Medical Centre, the National Health Service (GGD) and the council of Amsterdam-Zuidoost cooperated to draw the attention of people to a healthy lifestyle and the effect of it on the quality of their life.
In addition to measuring glucose values and blood pressure, people were also informed about the long-term effects of diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. There was also information about the importance of the compliance of the patient, that is a patient who learns to follow the strict procedures of the treating physician or the nurse.
The cooperation with the church had an enormously positive effect: the distance between the hospital and health care organizations were reduced and diseases were discovered in an early stage, so treatment could start earlier which increases the chance of cure.
Around 1200 passers-by were helped and about 40 people were seriously ill and in a life-threatening situation. It was an amazing cooperation; churches stood up and were socially relevant.
High-risk group: migrants from Africa
The cooperation between church and health care organizations started in 2016 by joining hands in educating African people who now live in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. The results of a survey of Helius showed that the number of people with diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease is much higher in West African communities compared to the Dutch and creole Surinam communities.
It appears that in practice this target group is difficult to reach and often medical help could have been given much earlier when discovered earlier. Medical care would not have been necessary for many patients when they would have been taught to live and eat healthy.
In African culture pastors of churches are authorities and role models in setting a good example of a healthy lifestyle and educating their people, but also in eliminating negative attitudes to health care organizations in The Netherlands. That’s why the Academic Medical Centre, the National Health Service (GGD) and the council of Amsterdam-Zuidoost cooperated in this campaign with the churches.
All associated parties experienced this cooperation as extremely valuable and new facts came to light which can be used in the next campaign so that the education is improved and even more helpful for the participants.
It works both ways for this project: by giving information about a healthy lifestyle and the positive effects on someone’s health when following the advices, the quality of life of the African inhabitants of Amsterdam-Zuidoost will improve and that will result in a reduction of costs for healthcare in Amsterdam-Zuidoost because physical illness is prevented by teaching African people to live as healthy as possible.