Prevention to live in harmony and in good health

To Your Health!

A new non-lucrative organization recently opened its doors to address a shortfall of health services specifically aimed at immigrant ethnocultural […]

A new non-lucrative organization recently opened its doors to address a shortfall of health services specifically aimed at immigrant ethnocultural populations,
especially those of African origins.

This is the general finding made by the Centre de bien-être et de prévention pour Afro-Canadiens de l’Alberta (CBEP) and its Director,
Dr. Nganda Luki. “Upon their arrival in Canada, the health condition of immigrants starts to deteriorate, and this situation is even more critical to immigrants of African and Afro-Caribbean origins,” he says.

According to him, they are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes and have more chances to develop heart diseases and strokes, in comparison to the rest of the population. “When they arrive here, their habits change, their lifestyle becomes more sedentary, and their eating habits change. They do not take care of their health, they are not careful,” he deplores.

Consequently, CBEP’s mission is to raise awareness within immigrant communities on health issues by designing programs aimed at health education, health promotion, and prevention and early detection of chronic diseases among Afro-Canadians. “We need to increase their awareness, to change their habits,” Dr. Nganda Luki says.

addressed by Réseau Santé Albertain. This at least is the point of view of the Vice-Chairperson, Brigitte Etien, who maintains that Afro-Canadians are at high risk of suffering from high blood pressure, and from type 2 diabetes.

In that sense, she explains that this clientele needs particular care,
in terms of prevention, to reach an optimal health condition. “As soon as they arrive, their health quickly deteriorates. There are other health agencies in Alberta, but none of them address their specific needs,” she explains.

The creation of CBEP is then based on the recommendation that healthcare services for immigrants are optimal when the healthcare providers are of the same ethnic origin, have a high level of cultural awareness, and speak the same language.

“The centre aims at bridging the gap, in terms of health issues, between the Alberta health system and the African community,” says Dr. Nganda Luki.

The Vice-Chairperson agrees: “Afro-Canadians won’t read on health issues, or just get some information. Therefore, we must build awareness and change this culture,” she hopes.

Working Within the Community

With this in mind, CBEP professionals will go out into the Black community, and other vulnerable populations to offer health promotion and education services. In addition, workshops on health, seminars, and special events will be organized where people need these services the most.

The Centre provides the following services:

  • Diabetes prevention and self-management
  • High blood pressure, heart diseases, and stroke prevention
  • Cancer and uterine fibrosis prevention
  • Education on mental health, and alcohol, drug, and tobacco addiction
  • Healthy lifestyle promotion
  • Nutritional advice
  • Access to information on health and support in the client’s first language
  • Outreach programs and referrals toward diagnosis and treatment centres
  • Support group for cancer and stroke survivors – Women’s and children’s health
  • Seniors’ health