Unity Day event Sunday will feature free health tests, information

Times Herald
by Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Among the many things that Vallejo’s diverse community has in common is the need to be and stay healthy. This is what motivates the various health-related concerns that plan to be at Unity Day 2017 — One Love — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Park on Sept. 10.

Attendees will be able to get a flu shot, an HIV or hepatitis C test, a diabetes screening and more, all free, as you check out the various booths and exhibits spread around City Park during the 8th annual Unity Day on Sunday.

“Visit the Walgreens booth to stay happy and healthy,” Walgreen’s spokesman Vincis Casuga said. “We want everyone in the community to decrease the chances of getting sick from the flu and limit the likelihood of an epidemic.”

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness, so, even if you are extremely healthy, your co-workers, friends, and family may not be, and can inadvertently spread the illness to you, and then you can pass it on to others, he said.

“Protect yourself and loved ones from catching and spreading the flu. Let’s make a difference,” he said.

Walgreens also has a program called Get a shot. Give shot – whereby “Walgreens helps provide lifesaving vaccines to families in developing countries through the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign,” Casuga said. “By getting a flu shot, Walgreens will give a shot to a child in need. The program helps support efforts to provide global childhood vaccines such as vaccines for pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and polio. One in five children worldwide lacks access to lifesaving vaccines. Be a part of the movement! Get your vaccinations!”

Solano County health officials said they are offering free oral HIV and Hep C tests because both are sneaky diseases affecting millions, many of whom are unaware of it.

“The communicable disease program aims to make testing easily accessible to our residents by providing a fast, pain free, oral HIV test,” county health spokesman Robertson Somuah,said. “The reason we provide the Hepatitis C rapid test in association with HIV testing is based on the CDC recommendation that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the Hepatitis C virus.”

One in 30 baby boomers — the generation born between 1945 through 1965 — has been infected with Hepatitis C, and most don’t know it, he said. Hepatitis C causes serious liver diseases, including liver cancer and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States, he said.

“We are very excited to be a part of Unity Day which represents the diversity and love evident in our community,” he said.

Touro University will be at Unity Day with its diabetes-mobile — or Mobile Diabetes Education Center (MOBEC) — “raising awareness about this serious but largely preventable and wholly treatable condition,” spokeswoman Deanna Dickey said. “We will provide free diabetes screening and education for all adult attendees.” 

Maria Guevara, founder of Vallejo Together which produces Unity Day, said a healthy community is more likely to be an engaged community.

“When you don’t feel well, you don’t do well, and building a productive life and a thriving community becomes your last priority,” Guevara said.

Aside from the MOBEC clinic, Touro will have three tables at the event, Guevara said, as will the Solano AIDS Coalition and KAAGAPAY, a Filipino mental health outreach funded by Solano County.

Wendy Loomas, health services manager with Health Promotion & Community Wellness Bureau, Solano County Health & Social Services, Public Health Division, has been working with Vallejo Together for months, on increasing access to healthy foods in some Vallejo convenience and liquor stores, and Unity Day is one more outreach avenue.

“It’s been a very successful partnership and we are always looking for more ways to work with (Vallejo Together) and other Vallejo residents on improving the health of the community,” Loomas said. “Unity Day is an opportunity for us to meet and listen to a variety of people in our community which helps inform our work. We know it takes a lot more than advice about exercise and healthy eating these days. Unity Day promotes an environment of community and cultural appreciation that also contribute to people’s health and well-being. We are proud to be a sponsor of this event.”

Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.

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