Due to the rising score of health issues in and out of the country, the Don Honorio Ventura State University did its part in spreading awareness among its personnel about nutrition for diabetes and the DASH diet, tuberculosis, mental health and HIV on September 18 at the University Hostel.

Formally starting the event organized by the Administrative Services Office was Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Reynaldo C. Nicdao, who presented introductory facts and figures on the said topics. “We are committed to empowering all employees to increase prevention of such diseases and attain a balanced mind, body and spirit,” he quipped.

The first guest speaker, Ms. Irene Santiago, a registered nutritionist and dietician from the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH) in San Fernando, Pampanga, gave a thorough description of DASH, or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, since one of the most prevalent medical conditions that people face today is hypertension or high blood pressure. The high-fiber, low-fat diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat or non-fat dairy and includes mostly whole grains, lean meats, fish and poultry, nuts and beans, and limited salt. She also talked about proper nutrition for people with diabetes and those who are at risk for it.

Next to take the podium was Ms. Rechelda De Los Reyes, RN, Health Education and Promotion Officer of the JBLMRH, who talked about the bacterial disease that affects a third of the Filipino population, tuberculosis. She said that in this disease symptoms, or the lack thereof, are not enough to tell whether one has tuberculosis or not, and a thorough TB exam remains the best way to be sure. De Los Reyes encouraged the participants to avail of the free TB examination and treatment that JBLRMH offers. The free services also come with tuberculosis medicines, free of charge.

While physical health is important in having a good quality of life, De Los Reyes said that people should also be mindful of their mental health, which includes a person’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. “Mental illness does not discriminate and can affect anyone,” she said, adding that among the aspects of a person’s overall health, “mental health is usually overlooked.” Furthermore, De Los Reyes shared that suppressing emotions is not advisable, and shared ways on how to support someone going through mental health issues.

Lastly, giving an animated and informative talk on the basics of HIV, common misconceptions and ways to prevent it was Ms. Cherry Mae Valdez, an HIV advocate and president of the Ing Mamalakaya Support Group. She said that the “stigma on HIV remains high and steps must be taken to end it.” Valdez also stressed the importance of getting tested regularly not only to get proper treatment and know what to do to keep it from spreading in case one tests positive, but also for reassurance and further practice prevention to remain HIV-free.

The talks were followed by a short open forum. Dr. Dolores T. Quiambao, Vice-President for Student Affairs and Services and Dean of the Graduate School, delivered the closing remarks. Free HIV-testing was made available to participants after the seminar.

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