BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE number of people being confirmed with Diabetes in the Federation continues to increase, with more women than men being diagnosed with the ailment.
This was revealed by Minister of Health, Dr. Terrance Drew in his address to recognize yesterday (Nov. 14) as World Diabetes Day, in which he stressed that Diabetes remains “a global health challenge that requires our collective attention, and this week provides us with opportunity to unite in our efforts to combat this pervasive non-communicable disease”.
As the Federation embarks on a week of advocacy, education and community engagement, statistics show that the number is on the rise over the last several years.
According to Prime Minister Drew, Diabetes and its complications were responsible for 13.7% of total deaths that occurred between 2017-2021. Over the three years period of 2019-202, there were more than 200 new cases of the ailment popping up with the numbers being 60, 85 and 81 respectively.
“At the end of 2020, 31.5% of men and 68.5% of women accounted for the total number of cases of Diabetes Mellitus in the Primary Care Setting,” Dr Drew said.
It is for that reason, he pledged his Government’s commitment to “investing in public health initiatives, research and healthcare infrastructure to better prevent, diagnose and manage Diabetes.
He pointed out that by fostering a culture of health and well-being, “we can reduce the prevalence of Diabetes and improve the quality of life for those living with this condition”.
Concerns were recently raised by the St. Kitts Diabetes Association (SKDA) as it has embarked on screening within schools.
“Diabetes is a significant problem; to the extent that we’re looking at possibly around 3,000 persons living with Diabetes in St. Kitts. I am speaking about St. Kitts; not St. Kitts and Nevis,” Public Relations Officer Dr. Reginald O’Loughin recently told this publication.
Under the “A Healthier You” campaign, the SKDA is embarking on taking the awareness to primary schools across the island and conducting screenings.
Prior to the pandemic, the association had found a number of primary school-aged children were either Diabetics or borderline Diabetics.
“We as the St. Kitts Diabetes Association is trying to address it in whatever way we can; and in more recent times, the International Diabetes Association has encouraged interaction with the younger people. So, the earlier you can pick up Diabetes or even prevent it, the better it will be,” Dr. O’loughlin told SKNVibes in October.
Meanwhile, PM Drew is encouraging all to actively participate in recognizing World Diabetes Day by wearing blue, which is the official colour of Diabetes awareness.
Activities planned by the St. Kitts Diabetes Association in recognition of the Day are::
?School visits to educate our nation’s youth, from November 13 to 15;
?School Symposium and Health Screening on November 16;
?Health fair on November 17; and
?And the 9th annual Walk on November 18 at 5:30 a.m.
This year’s World Diabetes Day is being recognized under the theme: “Access to Diabetes Care”.