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Creating a healthy living environment for the children of Saba to grow and develop

Two representatives, Mark Blankwater and Carlijn Kuin, from JOGG, an organization based in the Netherlands, visited Saba from August 15th to the 17th. The JOGG approach is a community-based program targeting children 0 to 19 years. The approach targets young people’s health by reshaping all the environments within which they actively engage, leisure, school, home, sport, neighborhood, and media, to promote healthy lifestyles with a focus on tackling excess weight and obesity. To do so effectively requires six essential conditions, which include political-administrative support, public-private partnership, shared ownership, connection prevention & care, communication, and monitoring & evaluation. Essentially, the JOGG approach is everyone working together in an integrated manner towards a healthy youth.

The purpose of this visit was to assess what, as a government, public health department, and community, are currently working on and how we can effectively implement the JOGG approach into our practice. Many productive discussions took place with the colleagues of the public health department.

Mark and Carlijn took field visits to the recreational facilities, the school, daycare, and afterschool care. They ventured up to the Gezondheid Farm to explore the innovations occurring in food production and security on Saba. The visit culminated in a meeting with Public Health, Island Secretary Tim Muller, and Commissioner Rolando Wilson, where 7 action areas were identified as key topics to address. Some are short-term goals, and others with a view to a longer-term plan.

Both the Public Entity Saba and JOGG shared a clear commitment to forming a strong partnership, acknowledging that the JOGG approach on Saba has the potential to yield very significant results for a healthier Saba.

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