Ensuring the city’s residents are health conscious – and in the rare instance, making a life-saving catch — were among the goals of the Bayonne City Health Fair held on Thursday, Aug. 7.
The three-year-old event was held in Fitzpatrick Park, a block south of City Hall on Avenue C, between 26th and 27th streets.
The fair offered a variety of health screenings, other health services, and information.
Denise Walsh of Avenue F attended, wanting to take advantage of the various screenings, even though she has health insurance.
“A lot of people don’t have insurance, so they can have their blood pressure checked, their cholesterol, their sugar level,” Walsh said. “It makes people aware. I think it’s very good to have this.”
Retiree Antoinette Bugeja of 3rd Street was there to avail herself of the services, but also “to get out of the house.” She was having her blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked by Eugenes Bey, an R.N. for Access Nursing Services. Her cholesterol reading was 180, below the 200 recommended by health officials, so all was good.
“I eat egg whites, and once in a while I treat myself to a yolk,” Bugeja said.
Joanne Petersen, a retired nurse who had worked for the Bayonne and Jersey City medical centers, said the event was important.
“It’s good, because you can be notified of a health issue before you even knew you had it,” she said.
Nancy Aleman, community outreach director for CarePoint Health, said these types of screenings can sometimes flag a potentially serious health issue. Once, a Bayonne man having his hearing screened learned his pulse rate per minute was only a 35, instead of the expected 60.
“He was like a walking zombie,” Aleman said. “We did the hearing test on him in a wheelchair and then took him to the ER. So you really never know what sort of issues can be uncovered.”
Dr. Michael Acanfora of the Wellness Institute of Bayonne was testing participants’ balance, administering the screening as a public service.
“I think it’s really important that we give back to our community,” he said.
Bergen Point Pharmacy was also at the event as a community service.
“The health fair is a good opportunity to meet people face to face,” said the pharmacy’s Ray Mars.
The fair is sponsored by the city and planned by workers Suzanne Cavanaugh, Kathy Folger, and Catherine Lombardi. The event is part of the city’s outreach to residents, Cavanaugh said. Only an hour and a half into the fair, more than 100 people had already attended.
Participating agencies and organizations included the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF), Bayonne Office on Aging, Bayonne Visiting Nurse Association, Bergen Point Pharmacy, CarePoint Health/Bayonne Medical Center, City Hall Health Clinic, Horizon Health Clinic, Hudson Regional Health Commission, the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, and McCabe Ambulance.
Several businesses donated a variety of goods and services that were given away during the health fair.
“By supporting this event, everyone is working for better health for the people of Bayonne,” said Mayor James Davis.E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.