St. Lucia Arthritis and Lupus Assn hosts more workshops

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St. Lucia Arthritis and Lupus Assn hosts more workshops
Happy Viv Byen participants on completion of their workshops in December 2015 (1) Bay Medical Centre and (2) Babonneau
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Happy Viv Byen participants on completion of their workshops in December 2015 Babonneau.

PRESS RELEASE – As we celebrate our 37th anniversary of Independence under the theme “The Journey Continues”, SLALA would like to take the opportunity to remind St. Lucians about the journey so many of us St. Lucians face dealing with chronic disease in some way, shape or form.

For many of us who have to walk the road of living with a chronic disease everyday of our lives, the journey sometimes involves denial, non- compliance with medications and doctors’ orders, complications, financial struggles, depression, anxiety and even hopelessness. It doesn’t have to be that way. If we are empowered to take charge of our health choices, our health journey can be a good one.

SLALA, through the introduction of the Stanford University, Chronic Disease Self-Management Program has created an opportunity for St. Lucians to find a way to make their journeys with chronic disease not just more bearable but less morbid.

In 2014, after two prior attempts at maintaining the CDSMP in St. Lucia, SLALA did retraining of leaders and master trainers in the program.  To date there have been 18 workshops done island wide and a training of leaders in Soufriere in June 2015. What we must recognize is that self- management programs now form part of guidelines for management of many chronic diseases, in particular Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hypertension.

It is well acknowledged that no matter how many resources are available and how much health professionals preach, the choices for health care and self-care are all up to the patient. If you have a positive, empowered patient, they care better for themselves, have better disease outcomes and better quality of life.

Through Viv Byen, persons have been able to not only bring awareness to their conditions, but embrace the good choices that are available to them to help them live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Participants have learnt techniques to sleep better, how to make better food choices including how to read food labels, how to make tough decisions, how to communicate better not just with their health care providers but their support persons, how to think positive thoughts and how that can positively affect your life, how to problem solve and also how to achieve small but significant goals through action planning. There are so many skills to be learnt and practice from these workshops and at the end of most workshops there is a great appreciation for the lessons learnt and the experience had.

And so our journey too continues…we have 10 workshops planned for this year including one on going in Mon Repos for men (bravo to our St. Lucian men for starting to Viv Byen). We also have a leaders training targeting Vieux- Fort planned for June this year.

For now, we have workshops planned for the following places: February 20th: Patience, Mon Repos, March: Anse-La Raye, April: Mon Repos and Morne Fortune. Persons wishing to join these workshops can contact SLALA to register. We would like to have more public awareness and education of Lupus and related illness and will continue to be a voice for those in our small country who journey with these illnesses.

SLALA would like to thank everyone who has been supportive of Viv Byen. We especially want to thank our Master trainers (Jacqueline Atkinson, Mary Charlery-Joseph, Nannette Reyes and Rose Aubertin) as well as our leaders who continue volunteer their invaluable time and services to Viv Byen.  We wish all St. Lucians a happy independence and would like to encourage all to “Viv Byen” as we each continue on this journey of life. To a healthier nation….Viv Byen Ste/. Lisi!!!

For more information on Viv Byen, contact SLALA 486-7000/459-0092 or email us at [email protected] or [email protected]

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