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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS HELP RASTAFARIANS TO KNOW THEIR HEALTH NUMBERS!

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS HELP RASTAFARIANS TO KNOW THEIR HEALTH NUMBERS!

MCNELLIE… we did not hesitate to say yes to the request by the group when they called us

SCOTTS PASS, Clarendon — In keeping with his church’s practice of non-discrimination, Seventh-day Adventist businessman Rohan McNellie recently offered a free health clinic to members of the Rastafarian Nyahbinghi Theocracy Order.

McNellie is the owner of Three Angels Pharmacy in Mandeville, Manchester, which also operates a mobile clinic.

“We did not hesitate to say yes to the request by the group when they called us because our focus is administering free health check-ups to anyone regardless of their class, race, economic or educational status, or religion,” said McNellie. “We also saw the group as a special one in that they practice strict vegetarian diet and believe in and worship on the Sabbath, as we do, though they are Rastafarians.”

The health clinic, staged recently, formed part of a nine-day celebration commemorating the 125th anniversary of the birth of His Imperial Majesty Hailie Selassie. The site, in this rural Clarendon district, is one of six locations of the Nyahbinghi Theocracy Order across the island. The five-acre property on which the temple is located was a gift from the Bob Marley Foundation.

Approximately 200 members from the six theocracies were present at the clinic. Volunteer nurses screened 109, including children, for blood pressure readings, blood sugar levels, eye health, body mass index, and offered health counselling. Of the 109, 35 were referred to the optician and 32 to the medical doctor, both of whom were on location. A female member had to be taken to hospital by a Red Cross standby ambulance as a result of very high blood pressure.

“This is indeed a blessing in disguise for us,” said 76-year-old Vincent Allen, high priest of the Nyahbinghi Theocracy Order.

“We greatly appreciate what the Adventist health group has been doing here today. I believe one’s health is very important and so it is very important to know your health status so that it can be addressed, if necessary.”

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The Nyahbinghi Theocracy Order worships on the Sabbath, which they recognize from 6:00 pm Friday evening to 6:00 pm Saturday evening, a slight variation from the Adventists who observe it from sunset to sunset on the given days.

When asked why the order finds it important to worship on the Sabbath, Priest Allen quoted parts of the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8-11, which says “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Speaking to the impact of the clinic on the community, retired nurse Leonie Bailey said the intervention identified disease warning signs in several patients.

“The overall health challenge that we have seen is that a number of persons are hypertensive and a few pre-diabetic. The hypertension that we see may have been caused from being up late at nights because of their beliefs. One gentleman, whose pressure was high, said he was up late last night and a lady admits that she was up selling all night last night. It can mean they have not got enough rest and may also be a little dehydrated in this hot time,” she divulged.

Erica McDonald was one of those found to be hypertensive. She admitted to being aware of her condition before, but “what the clinic has done is to make me more aware as to the level that it is and what I need to do to keep it in check. I really want to thank you for this”.

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Seventy-year-old Dennival Johnson had a good report on his numbers after not seeing a doctor for the past two years.

“I am so proud about the clinic. I am pleased with the doctor and nurses. You are a nice set of people and I wish you could come more often because some of the elders here cannot afford to go to the paid doctor. We really appreciate this,” he said.

Since its launch on March 30, 2017, the mobile clinic has done approximately 20 outreach projects across seven parishes and has registered and attended to more than 2,000 individuals. Based on appointments, by year-end the clinic would have covered all parishes, catering to various community groups and churches.

“One area of need that we have recognized coming out of this experience with the group is for a dental clinic operation, which we hope to do by October this year,” said McNellie.

“We don’t want to be partial in our address of [people’s] health needs, but to take a holistic approach [instead].”

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