TUCO’s Second Health Seminar with Dr. Solaiman Juman

TriniView.com Reporters
November 27, 2018

Dr. Solaiman Juman (4th from left) and Melissa Des Vignes with members of TUCO
Dr. Solaiman Juman (4th from left) and Melissa Des Vignes with members of TUCO

On Saturday 08th September, 2018, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization (TUCO) hosted their second Health Seminar in the V.I.P. Lounge at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. The seminar was officially launched in May this year and is aimed at raising healthy lifestyle awareness. It examines pertinent issues of poor health which include common causes, prevention and management to ensure a healthy and improved lifestyle.

Present at this event were featured speaker, Dr. Solaiman Juman, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon, business development manager for Professor Gerard Hutchinson (GH) Consultancy Services, Melissa De Vines, and members of TUCO.

According to TUCO’s Welfare Officer, Carlston Kerr, this initiative is intended to address the health challenges and treatment of the artistes in a responsible way by the organization. He also noted that part of this initiative came about because of Professor Hutchinson’s love for the art form and expressed interest in the well-being of the artistes. Professor Hutchinson is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Medical Sciences. He is also the Head of Clinical Medical Sciences and the Head of Psychiatric Services at the North Central Regional Health Authority.

Business development manager for (GH) Consultancy Services, Melissa De Vines
Business development manager for (GH) Consultancy Services, Melissa De Vines

Melissa expressed that many of the calypso icons have been coming down with illnesses and with their busy schedules, they were not taking care of their health as they should. She explained that based on those statistics and a collaborated effort with TUCO’s President, Mr. Masimba, they have identified the need to encourage the members to take care of their health thereby protecting, preserving and promoting the culture of the entertainment industry.

According to Melissa, “They must follow-up with their medical treatments, doctor visits and take our medical advice from the different medical practitioners. We have already gotten some medical facilities on board as well as some medical specialists. We have with us, Dr. Solaiman Juman and we have partnered with Central Medical Laboratory which is a medical facility on Frederick Street. They will come in and do all the blood work. We do it at a nominal cost, so they pay less than what other patients will pay. We have decided to work out a package specifically designed for the members of TUCO. We also plan to start issuing vitamin B shots to them, especially around the carnival season. The vitamin B shots is going to help boost their immune system, but it must be a holistic initiative.”

At the launch earlier this year, other general practitioners, Dr. Julius and Dr. Fraser along with Professor Hutchinson, tested blood sugar, blood pressure and offered advice. Some people were even sent to the hospital, Melissa said.

(R): Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon Dr. Solaiman Juman
(R): Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon Dr. Solaiman Juman

Dr. Juman, who is also a lecturer at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and an honouree consultant at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, said what he did at this seminar was something that has been developed with Professor Hutchinson to provide the best health care possible for calypsonians.

In his lecture, he highlighted the care of the voice, the basics of what is voice, how it is produced, what are the parts of the body required, the abnormalities that can occur with the voice itself and how to prevent some common medical/vocal issues from occurring.

He explained that in terms of the voice itself, especially with singers, teachers, lecturers and anybody who use their voice as a profession, are particularly prone to developing voice problems, like vocal cord nodules, which can occur when you shout a lot or don’t use the appropriate technique of speaking.

Care of the Larynx
Care of the Larynx

He further added, there are a lot of professionals with vocal cord nodules and vocal cord polyps from prolonged use and abuse of the voice. Highlighting one of the worst-case scenarios for people who do a lot of cigarette smoking, is the issue of vocal cord cancer. According to Dr. Juman, a big problem that a lot of people experience, but they don’t really appreciate, is the role of acid reflux in contributing to a lot of voice problems.

Dr. Juman expressed, “If you are using your voice badly, you are smoking, drinking and you have acid reflux, that’s a bad combination. Reflux is something you really need to control. You are not going to be necessarily cured of it. We look at what you eat, when you eat and how you eat. Try to avoid excessive use of things like curry, pepper, tomato, cheese, citrus fruits like orange, grapefruit. Those things have citric acid in it and they can cause a problem. Also, what you drink. Minimize coffee, tea, alcohol, pepsi, coke and anything with caffeine in it because that stimulates acid production.

The best thing to drink as a singer is water. Do not eat big meals; eat small meals. It is recommended that people with reflux, instead of eating three big meals you can eat up to five small meals. Your last meal in the night should really be taken three to four hours before you lie down and after that the only thing you should take is maybe water. When you are going to lie down, you need to sleep with your head up, so your throat is higher than your stomach and the acid doesn’t flow straight into the throat.”

Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon, Dr. Solaiman Juman and Melissa Des Vignes
Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon, Dr. Solaiman Juman and Melissa Des Vignes

Despite the lack of attention paid to the care of the professional voice in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Juman expressed his appreciation for the collaborated work efforts of Professor Hutchinson and TUCO in terms of addressing the care of the calypsonian’s voice:

“This is really something that needs to transcend not only to the calypso fraternity but should really go out to everyone. We have a lot of teachers, lecturers and other people who use their voice a lot and do not know what is the right thing to do. I am really happy that this unique presentation will be appreciated and taken on board by the calypsonians.”

He also noted the need to pay close attention to the hearing loss in steelband players. Ten years ago in his research on hearing loss in steelband players, he said it was found that the longer you are exposed to playing, especially in the rhythm section, the greater chance of hearing loss. The care of the throat and the ear, at least in this case, is very heavily involved in the carnival fraternity, he said.

TUCO executive members, Carlston Kerr and Shirlane Hendrickson
TUCO executive members, Carlston Kerr and Shirlane Hendrickson

Kerr stated that the artiste is at a disadvantage without insurance that would cover much more than a broken foot or a broken arm. “Based on trial and efforts over the years, we have never stopped trying to seek the artistes’ health interest, which is why they have reached to this point. Over the years, Insurance companies this part of the world did not offer that kind of coverage, and perhaps still do not.”

According to Melissa, they have been engaging in these initiatives using a trial and error approach and will continue with frequent revision of the system to ensure improvement, taking one day and one step at a time. There will also be more lectures and health fairs with free blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol testing.

Continue to:
TUCO Health Seminar: Lecture on the larynx and the voice

TUCO Health Seminar 2018 in pictures:

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