SWRHA launches medicine 'food park' in San Fernando

A worker tends to the garden at the San Fernando General Hospital. - Narissa Fraser
A worker tends to the garden at the San Fernando General Hospital. - Narissa Fraser

Like many people, the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has created a kitchen garden during the covid19 pandemic.

The authority launched its Culinary Medicine Food Park programme at the San Fernando General Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The hydroponic garden system is on the ground floor. It produces chives, patchoi and lettuce, and SWRHA officials reaped the first harvest. Planting began in July 2020.

SWRHA CEO Dr Brian Armour said being a public health professional, he knows the importance of the "preparation and consumption of a healthy diet.

"Often times, the difference between life and death is in a balanced meal," he said.

He said despite economic challenges owing to the covid19 pandemic, the authority found creative and innovative ways to move forward while spending wisely on patient care.

"It is the aim of the authority to improve our nutrition offering with food from our on-site farm, with the aim of educating our patients about promoting and sustaining production of fresh safe and nutritious food, while ensuring and maintaining a consistent supply and diversity to our patients."

SWRHA CEO Dr Brian Armour looks at the first harvest of patchoi from the authority's garden at the San Fernando General Hospital. Photo by Narissa Fraser

Renee Franklin, technical director of the Health Ministry's Health Services Support Programme, said another kitchen garden will be launched soon, at the Point Fortin Hospital.

She reminded the public that many of the co-morbidities that covid19 patients have are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes.

"This presents an opportunity for us to reposition the charge to address NCDs," she said. "It is under this initiative that we challenge each regional health authority in Trinidad and Tobago to come up with a communication initiative or initiatives.

"And we acknowledge the submission of SWRHA, the culinary medicine park, which we find extremely innovative because it focuses on prevention...It is time that we refocus and re-emphasise prevention. Primary healthcare is important and we need to invest greater in that area."


"SWRHA launches medicine ‘food park’ in San Fernando"

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