It’s time to take personal responsibility say Health workers & community leaders
With Black people in Britain leading in diabetes and numerous cancers, community leaders and health workers stressed the importance of healthy lifestyles and greater awareness at the recent African community health awareness convention in South London.
The annual event, hosted in honour of Ras Lloyd, founding chair of the African society community forum, saw members of numerous faiths and organisations come together to discuss the health challenges facing Black men and women across the country.
In the UK, people of African descent are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as Europeans and twice as likely to suffer a stroke as the rest of the population. New research has also revealed that one in four Black men in Britain will develop prostate cancer, double the national rate while Black women remain most likely to suffer from fibroids and have the lowest survival rate following breast cancer in the UK.
Stephen Ssali, the son of doctor & respected medical researcher Professor Charles Ssali, said the statistics were no coincidence and called on adults to set a new trend for the benefit of future generations;
“My dad realised early on in his research that Black people were being targeted and when we’re talking about diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus, prostate cancer, these conditions are now starting to affect our young children.”
Mr Ssali warned against relying solely on doctors and encouraged individuals to take more personal responsibility for improving their health.
“Health care is big business and so it is not in the interest of these big corporations for us to well.”
Unnatural diets full of processed “dead” foods and negative mind-sets were the leading causes of cancers and diseases Mr Ssali said.
“Health begins with gratitude; we must thank the creator for the blessing of health & the gift of life because that’s where good health begins, not with taking two tablets every morning.”
“It’s about the choices we make which are either positive or life destroying and our health today is a reflection of our previous choices.” He said.
“We’re eating cheap fast and processed foods instead of natural fruits and vegetables because we’ve been taught and trained to (live) a lifestyle which is literally killing us.”
Highlighting everyday household goods such as fluoride toothpaste and deodorants containing aluminium as damaging products, Mr Ssali explained the key to good health lies in being aware of the positive and negative effects products and foods have on the body.
“It is not natural to be sick, our bodies are built to perfection, but we sabotage it by the way eat and live.”
Kristos Dan, an advocate for natural foods, called for greater awareness of the PH value of foods and warned against heavily acidic diets.
“Our bodies are mostly alkaline so we need alkaline foods but we don’t need acid as our bodies produce it when we’re digesting our meals – we’ve got to know the PH value of foods so we can make better decisions.”
Minister Hilary Muhammad, the UK representative of the Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, said the ultimate solution to the health and social challenges facing Black people was for them to become united and self-sufficient;
“We need to put a strong structure together, so that we can donate into a central fund and our ambassadors can go throughout the Caribbean and Africa purchasing producing land so that we may feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, shelter ourselves and prepare a future for our children.”
The time for talking without action had passed, the Minister explained highlighting to achievements of Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee University in the United States, as an example of what the Black community needs to do today;
“He was a nation builder, he built an institution in which Black people could develop skills and become active participants in building a nation.”
“If God asks us what have built based upon all of knowledge that we have acquired and all we can say is we put down a deposit on a house, that’s not the type of building he’s asking us to do.” He said.
“I do not want to bequeath to my sons and daughters a microphone and a rostrum, I don’t want to bequeath to my children my library of books, I want to bequeath to them the buildings, the civilisation, and the nation that the books were leading towards.”