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Health carnival should be held more often

7 May 2024


PENAMPANG: Health carnivals can serve as a valuable instrument in enhancing the welfare of youth by imparting knowledge, encouraging physical activity, nurturing social bonds, enabling informed decision-making, and heightening awareness on health-related matters.

Penampang District Adolescent Health Carnival 2024 was held recently where 21 health services, most of which were under the Ministry of Health Malaysia showcased their services to students from several schools in the Penampang area.

Parents and teachers with their children were seen going to the booths where they were given information on adolescents.

One of the parents, Armidah Hassan, 44, expressed her immense gratitude for the carnival as it provided her with valuable insights into healthcare for her children. As a mother of three young school-going children, she discovered that there is more to health care than what she initially knew as a loving and responsible mother.

Armidah emphasised the depth of the services offered at the carnival. She discovered that if they identified any health problems, they would refer them to the appropriate health units in clinics.

“I am very impressed with this personalised approach to healthcare and I hope the carnival will be held again in the near future,” she said.

Felicia Martin, 40, a mother of three young children studying in Primary four and five as well as Form Five, echoed Armidah's sentiment. She believed that the carnival should be organised at least two or three times a year, in the Penampang area.

Felicia found the carnival to be a treasure trove of knowledge, covering various topics such as health and food, behavioural problems, and mental health. She was eager to apply the knowledge she gained to improve her children's upbringing.

Fertiney Sinang, 40, a mother of five children, expressed her happiness at being able to attend the carnival.

She highlighted the in-depth knowledge she acquired, which surpassed her general understanding of caring for her children's needs.

Fertiney appreciated the approachability of the booth staff who patiently answered all their questions. She strongly advocated for the carnival to be held more frequently, preferably twice a year at the same venue, to facilitate follow-up on the knowledge they had gained.

These parents were grateful for the carnival, which expanded their understanding of healthcare and empowered them to better care for their children. They hoped for more opportunities to benefit from such enriching experiences in the future.

The children who came to the festival were no less impressed and also expressed their hope that more of such carnivals would be held in future. Some of the children who didn’t have their parents with them said they would impart the knowledge to their parents and siblings when they went home.

Mo Anny Lim Anne Nee is 13 years old and studies at SMK Limbanak Penampang. This girl was visiting the booths with her friend Jason Adib Mikhail who is also 13 years old and from the same school. They weren’t accompanied by adults but seemed quite confident and comfortable with the crowd.

Anny said,” I like this carnival as it is very interesting and there are many things that I learnt here that will be useful in future. Mostly, I learnt about teenagers and their emotions, and I think it is necessary to learn all this at a young age. I will share what knowledge I get from here to my family,” she shared.

The carnival was highly recommended for youth as there were many information about health and relationships, among others, she shared and also hoped that such carnival will be held at least twice a year in future.

Jason said,” I am very excited to learn all about health, such as diets and food. There are many booths with information pamphlets and very friendly people who are ready to answer our questions. It is very important for us to know about health so we can take care of our bodies. Parents should also learn about health from this carnival.”

“I will share the information I have gathered here, with my family. I hope this carnival will be held again in the near future,” he said, adding that ideally it should be held every six months.

Two young girls, both 13 years old from SMK Limbanak wandered around together, with drinks on their hands. They almost looked alike and could be mistaken for siblings, but it turned out that they were just good friends from the same school.

“We enjoyed the carnival, it is fun and we gained educational opportunities, talked to health professionals and met friends,” said Nurkalisha Keith while Iylenna Mayra Marinus nodded.

“This carnival is very useful as it informs us about food consumption and diets. We came to know about our body and how to take care of it,” Ilylenna said.

“This carnival should be held twice a year, so those who could not come today can come and see for themselves. There will also be new young people, with the illness that he or his parents might not understand, so they can come and ask the people here,” Nurkalisha shared.

The girls from Inobong are both the eldest of several siblings and they said they had picked up pamphlets to show their younger siblings and parents.

All the interviewees praised the relevant authorities for holding the carnival as it showed their care and concern about teenage health and wellbeing.

The Penampang District Adolescent Health Carnival 2024 was supported by Yayasan Bank Rakyat (YBR) which is under the purview of the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative (MEDC) whose Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick launched the event.

During the event, Ewon who is also Penampang Member of Parliament said, through various programmes and strategies formulated to improve their (adolescence) health, a solid foundation for national development could be established.


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