Good health van is back in town

Get healthy: Rotarian Ashleigh Hickman assisted with the sign-ups for a health check when the mherv visited Gloucester in February 2019.
Get healthy: Rotarian Ashleigh Hickman assisted with the sign-ups for a health check when the mherv visited Gloucester in February 2019.

mherv - Men's Health Education Rural Van - is coming back to Gloucester on February 14-16.

mherv is a purpose-built caravan, with two consulting rooms, which has toured through more than 100 centres in NSW, many of them more than once, since Rotary launched it in 2017.

Rotarians encourage not only men, but women, too, to come and visit the mherv van while it is in Gloucester.

The van will be stationed at the corner of Church and Hume streets, from 10am until 4pm, on the aforementioned dates.

There is a full-time registered nurse on board, who conducts health tests among rural men.

The Men's Health Education Rural Van is out and about in rural New South Wales to save lives.

That sounds a bit dramatic perhaps, but plenty of rural men just drop dead in the paddock, because nobody saw it coming.

Many men in rural and regional Australia haven't had a check-up with their doctor since they don't remember when.

In fact, many haven't darkened a surgery door for years.

Rotary's mherv project offers a free, ten minute, non-invasive group of tests: Blood pressure just to check the heart isn't too stressed; Blood sugar levels - just a pin-prick in the finger, to make sure there's no type two diabetes, which is manageable even if it is diagnosed; Cholesterol - just another pin-prick to see if levels are high and need attention.

High levels of any of these tests are virtually non-symptomatic and can kill. Yet these conditions can be detected by the mherv tests and, if noticed in time, can easily be treated by a local family doctor.

A health check with mherv is completely free. It is a community service provided by Rotary and our sponsors, particularly the Royal Freemasons' Benevolent Institution and the Rotary Clubs of New South Wales.

So how do people hear about mherv before it arrives in town? Your local Rotary clubs will make sure they know all about where the van will be parked, and the times it will be open to do the tests.

Rotarians from the district will also host the project and will be on hand throughout the visit, making it even more comfortable for townspeople to go along.

By the end of May 2019, 2368 people who had been tested were recommended to contact their GP to arrange for a regular medical check-up.

In addition, 3136 were advised to take their test results to their doctor as there was a specific issue that may need treatment.

And 164 were advised to seek medical advice immediately as they were at risk of suffering a serious episode, perhaps a heart attack or stroke. It is unlikely these people would have sought medical advice without the mherv test and would soon have experienced a potentially life-threatening or terminal event. These lives were probably saved by the project's efforts.