Lions Health Fair a great success

PHILIPSBURG – The 8th annual Lion Rudy Hoeve Health and Wellness Fair, organized by the St. Maarten Lions Club on Saturday, March 5, at the Festival Village was a great success.

Lions Health and Wellness Fair Organizer Lion Wally Havertong stated, “The Lions Club would like to thank through this medium all stakeholders who took part in the Fair for offering their expertise, information and services to the public of St. Maarten free of charge. The club would also like to thank the general public that came out in great numbers to make use of these services, information and various tests that were offered. Compiling all the results from the various stakeholders took some time and for that reason this press release is finally being released at this time.”

All participants in the Fair expressed their satisfaction as all did well, with some doing better than others. For newcomers to the Fair, it was a great experience and most have already signed up for next year’s 2017 Fair. This year, the Fair saw some additions, where it concerns the Wellness part, with four speakers who filled the conference rooms at the Festival Village.

Pharmacist Dick Luttekes made several presentations on the administration of medicines, and on several occasions there was a large crowd that was very satisfied with the knowledge they received. Dr. Mark Hatfield, a retina specialist from the US, spoke about eye care and Diabetes. He also addressed a full room of visitors, who were updated on people living with diabetes.

As expected, the speaker that drew the largest crowd was Civil Law Notary Meredith Gibson-Boekhoudt who spoke on “The Last Will” and “Inheritance.” Her presentation saw a conference room filled to capacity with standing room only as she enlightened the audience on these two important subjects especially where it pertains to changes in the inheritance law after April 2014. The final speaker for the day was Pediatrician Dr. Pieter Offringa who spoke about Asthma and allergies in small children.

The booth with the most visitors was The Diabetes Foundation (DBF) with their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol tests. This year the DBF tested 410 persons, which is a big number since they regularly carry out testing in all districts on the island every other weekend. Once again they added the services of a Podiatrist, who flew in from Curaçao to assist with inspection of feet and in particular diabetic feet. The doctor was busy from the beginning of the fair until she was ready to leave for Curaçao. Diabetic persons who were high risk were referred to their specialist with the foot results. The DBF and Lions are happy that something really good came out of this year’s Fair.

The Podiatrist saw so many feet which showed some alarming results that she immediately notified the SZV. Minister of Health Emil Lee also visited the Fair and a discussion arose between DBF, SZV, the Minister and the Podiatrist. Based on these alarming results, an agreement was made to have the Podiatrist visit St. Maarten on a rotating basis to check the feet of diabetics in St. Maarten, as the island does not have a resident Podiatrist. The St. Maarten Lions Club for the 8th consecutive year sponsored the testing strips to the tune of US $1,200 for the 410 cholesterol tests carried out by the DBF.

The St. Maarten AIDS Foundation tested a total of 168 persons. Once again judging from the fact that the AIDS Foundation tests every weekend in different districts, this is a great number. The AIDS Foundation was also assisted by their French counterparts, who brought along their special unit (bus) to assist with testing.

Henderson Insurances booth saw 113 visitors who received information pertaining to health, travel, medical and life insurance.

SMMC gave the public an interesting demonstration, information on dialyses and the many services offered at the hospital. The Nephrologist was also on hand to give the necessary vital information. Child Preventive Services of the Public Health Department offered vaccinations to children and also updated the vaccination files of many children. The Health Bus offered a special service to women with Gynecologist Dr. Courtar doing examinations and giving vital information. Eye screening was carried out by students of the AUC Medical School. Inner Harmony, another regular participant, gave information and demonstrated the services that are available at their clinic in Cole Bay.

The Mental Health, Down’s Syndrome, Parkinson and Love of Kids Foundations gave vital information and demonstrations on mental health situations and how to deal with Down’s Syndrome in the early stages. The Parkinson Foundation is a new foundation and they shared documents on the disease, while the Love of Kids Foundation gave information on dyslexia.

The new Kidney Foundation shared with the public through Ms. Felicita relating her experiences. For a first timer, many visited the booth for more information. Other newcomers were: the recently established Psychologists Foundation, and the newly sworn-in physiotherapist. The Alzheimer’s Foundation was back, took some memory tests and shared information. SZV also gave vital information on their new direction of preventive health care, health referrals and pensions.

Finally, the Tsu Chi Foundation booth was very popular with visitors. This Foundation saw 343 visitors and carried out 94 massages. At closing time at 4:00pm, they were still busy and regretfully had to turn away persons.

This year’s Fair has grown with 8 new organizations and foundations coming on board, and all 44 booths were occupied. For persons or organizations that would like additional information, or would like to take part in the next Lion Rudy Hoeve Health and Wellness Fair in 2017, check the St. Maarten Lions Club Facebook page or email:

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