Cook Islands Red Cross: Integrating NCD activities into existing programming

Publié: 16 septembre 2011 16:42 CET

Cook Island Red Cross Society (CIRCS) has taken an innovative approach to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) within their country. The Cook Islands outer islands are expensive and logistically difficult to reach so when the National Society does visit, the most is made of the opportunity to integrate  different programs as much as possible.

In March 2011 Cook Island staff and volunteers from the nine branches completed community-based health and first aid (CBHFA) training which included NCDs. The outcome from this training was that each branch developed an action plan for NCDs activities within their communities. National Society staff Patience Vainerere and Danny Vakapora, who recently completed the Youth as Agents of Behavioral Change Trainer and Trainers course, utilised the knowledge gained from both courses to expand the CIRCS HIV Youth Peer Education (YPE) program to promote living a healthy lifestyle.

In a May visit to the northern islands, (Manihki and Rakahanga)  NCD activities were integrated into their existing Peer Education program. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, CIRCS staff and YPE carried out three community health expositions for each of the communities as part of a peer education activity. This included free health checks (body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol); running a health information booth covering HIV information dissemination and condom and pamphlet distribution; and conducting first aid demonstrations. This activity was followed up by a two hour cardio party mass Zumba.  

Ministry of Health staff provided the technical expertise and interpretation of the results, whilst CIRCS staff and peer educators assisted with the screening, running the health information booth and first aid demonstrations.  A total of 109 people (49 men and 57 women) participated in the health expo with age range from nine to 65. This activity was a great success as it involves youth as agents of behavior change, actively involving them in a range of activities. The CIRCS aims to expand its work in the field of NCDs and the Rakahanga branch has requested additional sports equipment so that newly trained peer educators can run physical exercise activities for their communities.