Jacobi Med Center’s Africa Day addresses Malaria prevention

Dr. Christina Coyle, Jacobi director of tropical medicine practice and Einstein assistant dean and medical professor, said that the Centers for Disease Control and other institutions are looking to raise awareness among certain groups with the events like Africa Day and Malaria Awareness in Crotona Park.
Photo courtesy of Jacobi Medical Center

An event in Crotona Park will draw attention to a disease that’s being found more and more often among the borough’s worldwide travellers.

Jacobi Medical Center is teaming up with other medical providers to host its Africa Day Malaria awareness event, taking place after the African Diaspora Parade, in Crotona Park on Saturday, September 15 from noon to 4 p.m.

The health and information fair, which features free health screenings and information about Malaria, will have African drummers and musicians and is being held in collaboration with the African Diaspora Parade and Festival.

The event is designed for people who visit their homelands in sub-Saharan Africa fairly frequently to get information about Malaria, a disease caused by a parasite often transferred by mosquitos that causes high-fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness and may sometimes be fatal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

During the event, there will be a raffle for a free airline ticket to an African destination of the winner’s choice, said Dr. Christina Coyle, Jacobi’s director of tropical medicine who is helping to coordinate Africa Day.

Most of the Malaria cases the hospital sees, and indeed most cases reported in the United States, are from immigrants and their children from Africa who revisit their homelands, said Coyle.

“To be frank, when most Americans go to Africa they think about it as a big trip and so they go to a travel doctor,” said Coyle. “For many Africans, they think ‘I grew up there and I am going back home and why do I have to prepare?’”

The borough, particular in its western half, has what Coyle termed “a large African community.”

“We have large Nigerian and Ghanaian population…but we have people from every country in Africa,” said Coyle, who added that the CDC is looking to have people of African heritage who travel back home take medicine that reduces the chances of becoming infected with Malaria.

The Jacobi Community Advisory Board suggested working with the African Diaspora Parade and Festival to spread awareness about Malaria, the doctor said.

At the end of the African Diaspora Parade, as the parade marches into the Crotona Park, tents will be set up that will provide information about Malaria and prophylaxis that can be taken to prevent its spread, as well as other specialty tents that will be providing screenings for indicators like blood pressure, according to the hospital.

The tropical medicine clinic also teams up with houses of workshop that serve primarily African communities in order to get its message out, said Coyle.

In addition to Jacobi, the event is being co-sponsored by The Bronx Malaria Community Advisory Board, North Central Bronx Hospital, Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center, Harlem Hospital Center, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office, Healthfirst, Affinity, Ethiopian Airlines and Shape Up NYC.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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