Oakland, CA(Oct. 26) — About 40 seniors from the Bhutanese community hustled together at the waiting room of the Oakland Unified School District office in Oakland on Sunday, where they were educated on various health related issues as part of the seniors program, sponsored by Bhutanese American Community Center (BACC) in partnership with the Oakland School District.
The seniors program, now continuing on its sixth month since its inception, is a program founded by BACC, as a way to better connect the elderly population of the Bhutanese community.
The program also sets up various events to educate the senior population, as a way to counter the confusions and difficulties of being a new immigrant in a foreign nation.
Mr. Ananta Gurung, the executive director of BACC, coordinated the event at the OUSD office. Ms. Langan Courtney, the Refugee Specialist at Oakland Unified School District, and a strong committed partner of the program, was also present at the event and joined him to ease the fears of the attendees that the adult program was to be canceled.
Courtney confirmed her firm support for the continuation of the adult program offered by the school district, even with the looming budget woes of the state, which could put the program into financial jeopardy. But she did assure that even with the budget cuts; there would be no significant changes other than fewer classes being taught than usual.
During the event the attendees were briefed about various health education issues ranging from getting prescription drugs to maintaining a healthy diet to keep themselves away from harmful side effects of an unhealthy food diet.
Mr. Rajen Giri, who works as a certified Pharmacy Technician, was on hand at the event to help clear common misunderstandings and confusion of the attendees regarding their insurance health benefits and pharmaceutical needs.
Giri, who himself had seen the seniors be overwhelmed with prescriptions and the process of getting the appropriate drugs, explained the people gathered, about the different health cards and the coverage benefits that comes with each of them. He also debunked the common thinking between newly settled immigrants, that in America no medicine can be bought without a doctor’s prescription.
Members of Saheyeta.Org a grassroots level Nepalese organization dedicated to continually serve the medical needs of the Nepalese, Bhutanese and Tibetan communities of the S.F Bay Area were also present at the event.
Ms. Nisha Thapa, a nurse practitioner student at Samuel Merritt College, with the help of the Mr. Ashish Hada, president of Sahayeta.Org, gave a brief presentation about living a healthy lifestyle to avoid having health risks.
According to Thapa, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and gastric acid was a common health issue within the community especially among the elderly. She linked those health problems as a side effect of a highly unbalanced diet, along with heavy consumption of junk food and lack of enough exercise to maintain the body at its best health.
Thapa suggested that the seniors should switch to eating healthier brand of foods—consumption of whole grain products—and to have drinks with lower sugar levels in it, while staying away from sodas and energy drinks, which contain high sugar levels. The attendees were also briefed about the resources they should turn towards for information in case of emergency or question regarding certain issue like medical appointments and drug refills.
As the program neared the end the President of BACC Mr. Bir Thapa, announced the induction of Mr. Balav Pouydel and Mr. Ganesh Rai, into the board of directors of BACC, as community outreach organizer and volunteer coordinator respectively, for their commitment and hard work they showed to serve the Bhutanese community.
Along with them he also recognized Mr. Mohan Tamang, making him the goodwill ambassador of the Bhutanese community, considering his background working with youth and adult Bhutanese refugees in the past.
Established in 2007, BACC has been organizing various programs that directly benefit the Bhutanese community settled in this part of the United States.