Last week, residents of the Abuakwa South Municipality were treated to a six-day awareness campaign on public health.
Organised by the Kingsley Keep Fit Club, founded by the Registrar of Scholarships, Ghana Scholarship Secretariat, Dr. Kingsley Agyemang, residents of the Municipality massively participated in the various activities.
The activities, which covered the week, were health screening, clean-up exercise, a public health lecture, an inter-high schools debate, and a health walk.
The organisers of the events reported that about 5,000 residents of the Municipality were screened for various health-related issues, including glaucoma, hypertension, and diabetes. The screening followed the free enrolment of about 1,7000 people on the National Health Insurance Scheme, an exercise that took place in March and April.
On Friday, May 12, 2023, Senior High School students within the Abuakwa South Municipality converged for a lecture on the theme: “The Nexus between Physical Activity and Academic Performance.” Five health experts, drawn from Ghana, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, educated the students.
Professor Vicki Lambert, who is at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, spoke on school-based physical activity interventions.
She shared the eight best investments for physical activity, during which she mentioned that there should be suitable physical environments and resources to support structured and unstructured physical activity throughout the day.
Dr. Chris McCarthy, a Consultant Physiotherapist and Associate Professor at the School of Physiotherapy at Manchester Metropolitan University, spoke about how schoolchildren could incorporate exercise into their daily activities.
He noted that they should have 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity in bouts of, at least, 10 minutes per week, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both.
He advised against sitting for a long time, but urged muscle strengthening, adding that older adults over the age of 65 should have balanced and coordinated activities, at least, two days per week. He also mentioned that they should devote 22 minutes each day to physical activity.
He stated that physical activity at school involved active learning, research, homework, and break time, and told the students to take physical activity seriously if they desired to be brilliant and pass their examinations.
Dr. Faatihah Niyi-Odumosu, Secretary General, ISPAH LMIC Research Council, made a presentation on how exercise affected brain functioning.
According to her, children from 0–6 years of age who engage in habitual activity improve their language delay, attention, and memory.
She added that people aged 18–50 who do not engage in physical activity suffer memory loss, stating that habitual physical activity delayed cognitive decline.
She advocated for policy formulation on physical activity.
The Abuakwa South Municipal Director of Health Service, Mrs. Rhodalyne Adda Kyei-Yamoah, spoke on nutrition-friendly school initiatives or policies. He stated that Ghana is confronted with a triple burden of malnutrition.
She, however, observed that measures were in place to curb that and mentioned the Ghana Nutrition Friendly School Initiative (GNFSI), which has been rolled out.
She said the initiative was made up of activities to tackle the nutrition deficit in schools, naming some as fruit day among others.
The last presenter for the lecture was Prof. Peter Agyei-Baffour from the Health Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who expressed concern over the lack of interest in physical activity, urging that it should be looked into and the required investments made to whip up interest.
All the presenters ended their lecture with a statement that there was indeed a nexus between physical activity and academic performance. Some students asked questions about the various lectures, which were answered.
Prior to the lecture, Kibi Senior High Technical School and Apedwa Presbyterian Senior High School debated the theme for the lecture, and the former emerged victorious.
On Saturday, May 13, 2023, the Kingsley Keep Fit Club, led by its founder, Dr. Kingsley Agyemang, walked some kilometers within Kyebi, aimed at keeping the body fit. Residents from towns in the Abuakwa South Municipality joined the Registrar in Kyebi for the health walk.
Addressing the media after some aerobics, which ended the walk, Dr. Kingsley Agyeman indicated that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body, thus the need for people to exercise to stay strong.
He remarked that the statistics on obesity were not encouraging for the country to sit unconcerned and urged everyone to check what they eat, at what time, and also check their weights.
Commenting on why he embarks on educational, sports, health, and other projects in the municipality, he indicated that his motivation was “to use the power entrusted to me to empower the people who gave me the power.”