Even in the face of a global pandemic, Newport Water Hydrate Barbados programme has been serving our communities. With 8 water stations being deployed at schools and public spaces across the island in the past year, the stations this week surpassed a major milestone of 100 000 bottle fills. Today, our island premier medical facility, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, unveiled the 9th hydration station, thanks to our sponsor. .
The addition to the QEH comes after numerous calls this past week for an urgent response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Due largely to COVID-19 and its adverse effects on persons living with NCDs, these diseases have resulted in ramped up efforts to protect Barbados most vulnerable.
While one aim of the Hydrate Barbados programme is to protect the environment by way of reducing plastic pollution, more significantly, Newport and our partners recognize the impact we can and have made towards encouraging the adoption of healthier habits in our citizens. Sugar sweetened beverages are one of the key culprits that increase the incidence of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases like diabetes and obesity.
Make the healthy choice, the easy choice
The healthcare, financial and economic costs of these diseases are too high. The education campaigns have been frequent and relentless, but the most effective way to bring about behavioral change is to provide the resources for people to make better choices. We must make the healthy choice the easy choice. When presented with the option of dispensing free water to hydrate on a hot day, there is no need to spend money to purchase a sugar sweetened beverage which offers no nutritional value.
100 000 bottle fills is no small feat. It means that Barbadians are remembering to walk with their reusable water bottles daily and are purposefully filling up with water at our Hydrate Barbados stations making the healthy choice, says Marketing Executive at Newport Water, Alicia Barrow. We are happy to partner with Pharmacy Sales Caribbean whose offerings align with what we are trying to achieve here with this programme. By sponsoring this station at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, they are making a vital resource readily available to the public for free. We cannot thank them enough for coming on board.
Now is the time to come together to make our environments healthier spaces for us to live and work. Combined efforts by socially conscious companies will aid the government in this fight. Pharmacy Sales Caribbean donation today by way of this station is adding to a network that we will continue to grow until purified drinking water is easily accessible to everyone across this island.