Crooked Tree Village gets health fair

Crooked Tree is one of the oldest villages in the country and boasts many features, including cashews and the famous wine made from the cashew. Today the Ministry of Health picked that village to hold a health fair for communities in the area. Students, residents and visitors were out in numbers to take advantaging of the many free tests available. News Five's Marion Ali covered the event.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Nestled thirty-three miles north of Belize City, Crooked Tree Village is known for cashew and tilapia and when these are in season, the village can throw off some of the best known fests. But today this rural community was the venue for an entirely different occasion - the Ministry of Health joined hands with the local primary schools of the village and surrounding areas to hold a health fair.

Antonette Tillett, Rural Health Nurse, Crooked Tree Village

"We decided to have this health fair in Crooked Tree it's almost every rural village is supposed to have a health fair where they have a nurse station and it's a part of our job to form a committee and have health fairs fi promote health eena di community. We have the different booths that the students are visiting, we have games going on and we are doing different tests here for adults who come to the fair."

But while the whole message behind the event was to promote good health, it appears that the villagers from the area are heeding that message seriously. By the time we left early afternoon, seven people had gone to take an HIV test - the results - all seven were HIV negative.

Nurse Margaret Bradley, HIV Centre, Cleopatra White Health centre

[Linked Image] "A lot of people is using the condom more frequently but I think what we need to say�."

Marion Ali

"Has the level of infections gone down?"

Nurse Margaret Bradley

"Yes, a little. It's a very, very big fight because sometimes you wonder, you sit, you talk with people, you clarify the myths, the beliefs whatever and then they still would go out there and-like for instance maternity cases, you know they are positive and they still come in pregnant the next year. You want to know what is happening. What are we not doing? What are we supposed to do more? I think with the Ministry of Health, the input and everything we are going forward and I think people are suing the service much better and at this point too the maternal and child health, they have a mother to child prevention which means you can be positive and your child can be negative."

Crooked Tree Village also serves as a natural conduit in times of flood for the country and because of that, water treatment and vaccinations were also a key topic at today's fair.

Antonette Tillett

[Linked Image] "We have the water analysts here and when flood there is a big problem with water and they will tell us how to purify our water in cases of flood and so on and like for dehydration, we have kids getting diarrhoea during flood, how to treat it and stuff like that."

Sharon Cooper Espinoza, Sr. Public Health Nurse

"We have a vaccine here for every member of the family; whether you are young, whether you are old. For children, we have the BCG vaccine, we have the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine, we have the Haemophilus influenza vaccine, we have hepatitis B vaccine, we also have H1N1 vaccine that we are giving to our essential workers and also to our health workers and we have the seasonal influenza vaccine. The flu season is almost over, we still have some in stock and we're also giving those out."

Marion Ali

"And people have been coming?"

Sharon Cooper


One interesting twist to the event was the participation of the Youth Enhancement Services, whose job it is to address not exactly a health issue, but more a social one.

[Linked Image] Earlette Reneau, Outreach Officer

"We continue to raise awareness about commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. So we recently completed an Its campaign, Inter-Generational Transactional Sex which means basically even if you're over twenty five and you're sleeping with somebody for their money you drop into that ITS category because it's like you're not doing it because you love that person but you're doing it because of what you get out of that person. I think no, it would run into the same thing because you're exploiting your body and selling your body for� you know."

Marion Ali

"So your message here today was that it has to stop?"

Earlette Reneau

Yes, basically and we all know that life is hard but if we get out there and look for a job or something, we could make it."

Of the eight hundred residents in the village, almost half of the village attended the event, an outpouring that organisers say they are pleased with. Marion Ali for News Five.

Crooked Tree hosts the health fair almost every year and they invite other villages in the Belize Rural North to participate.

Live and let live