All aboard for health mela

Councillor Ramesh Gandhi, retired cardiothoracic surgeon
Councillor Ramesh Gandhi, retired cardiothoracic surgeon
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Fylde coast health bosses are hoping to start turning the tide of ill health in the resort with the town’s first ever Health Mela.

Other nearby areas, including Preston and Leyland, have held melas to promote health and well-being of residents, get local people to interact with health services and carry out health checks, such as blood pressure measurements. Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘fair.’

The Blackpool event will take place on Saturday, October 5, in the Spanish Hall, at the Winter Gardens and will be similar to the event held in neighbouring Preston, which this year included guest speakers Paul Buckley, director of the General Medical Council and Shami Chakrabarti from the charity Liberty.

A range of health professionals will attend the event, providing information and education on health for those interested. There will be a range of stalls and activities to promote health and well-being.

People can have tests such as blood sugar, cholesterol level checks and an overall health MOT, as well as get advice on how to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Blackpool has one of the worst health records in the country, with statistics showing it is in the worst 20 areas in the country when it comes to cancer-related deaths.

The resort also has the second highest overall early death rate in the country and the highest rates of premature deaths from lung disease and liver disease.

Ramesh Gandhi, retired cardiothoracic surgeon and member of the Lancashire Gujarat Hindu Society – organising the event – said: “The aim of the mela is to promote the general health and well-being of hard to reach community groups and visitors and improve their awareness of health-related issues.This will be done by providing health education and advice in a non-threatening friendly and fun environment.

“We plan to do it in Blackpool this year, then hopefully next year in Wyre and then in Fylde.”