Issues in Home Must be Addressed for Fundamental Shift in Population Health

Regional Technical Director of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Dr. Michael Coombs says if there is to be a turnaround in the health of the population and economic development of the country, the issues affecting our homes must be addressed.

“From the chronic diseases to the mental health problems, substance abuse, murders, performance in schools…you name it, if we are going to have a sustained impact on these issues then we have to address the issues that are affecting our homes,” Dr. Coombs pointed out while addressing over 100 men at a Man-Up Exposé on Tuesday, November 22 in Mandeville.

The Man-Up Exposé targeted men from the facilities of the SRHA and focused on self development, mental health, sexuality and responsible fatherhood and manhood. The initiative is part of the interventions, “Good Health Begins at Home” and “Man-Up- A Call to Healthy, Responsible Manhood” which have been targeting and empowering parents and men to foster healthy and happy homes in an effort to impact the society positively. Both initiatives were launched earlier in 2016 through a partnership between the SRHA and the National Association of the Family (NAF).

The Technical Director who is also the founder and chair of the NAF and the pioneer of the interventions said “the foundation for health and wellness is established in the homes and therefore men need to set the right examples. Fathering and male development is a key component of the “Man-Up” initiative because it is my belief that the way to break the cycle of fatherlessness and violence is targeting the young men before they become fathers.”

“Research has shown that the most important factors driving the breakdown of homes and marriages are male related, in particular our approach to our sexuality and family life. If there is to be sustained change then we need interventions such as “Man-Up Jamaica”, because women cannot do it alone. We have to educate men about the importance of fatherhood and the importance of commitment to family,” he added.

Dr. Coombs explained that among the core values of the “Man-Up” initiative are: commitment to family as a priority; responsibility and purity in sexual conduct; servant leadership in the home, community and country; marriage as the union of one man and one woman; fathering in the context of marriage – to provide for, protect, nurture and mentor; respect and loving regard for all women; being an example and positive influence for other men.

For Chief Public Health Inspector in St. Elizabeth, Mr. Everton Lewis who was a participant in the Exposé, the initiative is a boost for the family because “Man-Up Jamaica indicates that as men we need to be a little more responsible because it will chart the way for family and if the family is healthy then it is good for society. We as men need to provide the direction in which our families should go and based on that we will be the beacon so to speak where our generations and our sons and daughters will be able to look at what we are doing as men and to be able to follow it.”