Chairperson of the newly-formed task force on Physical Activity and Exercise, and wife of the Prime Minister, Mara Thompson, David Thompson, getting ready to cut the ribbon to declare the Global Village Expo open at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill. Looking on is Chairman of the Diabetes Foundation, Dr. Oscar Jordan. The Global Village Expo is a collaborative effort between The Diabetes Foundation of Barbados and the Barbados Diabetes Association to commemorate World Diabetes day, November 14.
Barbados has the leading morbidity and mortality rates in the region for diabetes.
This was revealed today by Health Minister, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the opening of the Global Village Expo, hosted by the Diabetes Association of Barbados, in collaboration with the Barbados Diabetes Foundation, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill.
While noting that the prevalence of diabetes in adults in Barbados stood at 16.4%, Trinidad and Tobago 12.7%, Jamaica 12.6% and Belize 12.4%, he said, "Our region, and Barbados in particular, has the highest prevalence rate in the Americas."
The Health Minister also gave some startling figures on the disease, as it relates to this island, pointing out that it was the third leading cause of blindness here; that major and minor lower limb amputations averaged almost 200 per year, with Barbados being regarded, over the years, as the amputation capital of world.
He added that 40% of persons on dialysis had some kind of diabetic-related kidney disease, and further pointed out that the average length of stay for a diabetic
patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was 17 days, whereas the overall average stay was 6 1/2 days.
With respect to drugs dispensed by the Barbados Drug Service, he pointed that those for diabetes represented the third major group of drugs.
The work of the organisers was lauded by the Health Minister who said the campaign on diabetes called on all those responsible for its care to understand diabetes and take control. He said: "For people with diabetes, this is a message about empowerment through education. For governments, it is a call to implement effective strategies and policies for the prevention and management of diabetes to safeguard the health of their citizens with, and at risk of diabetes.
"For healthcare professionals, it is a call to improve knowledge so that evidence-based recommendations are put into practice. For the general public, it is a call to understand the serious impact of diabetes and know, where possible, how to avoid or delay diabetes and its complications."
An assurance was also given that strategies would continue to be employed to reduce and control the onset of the disease through education, training and the provision of necessary human and capital resources, as well as partnering with non-governmental organisations.
Minister Inniss commended the recent efforts of the National Taskforce on Physical Activity and Exercise, under the chairmanship of Mara Thompson, wife of Prime Minister David Thompson, and those of the Commission on Chronic Non-Communicable Disease. He noted that the latter's Strategic Plan for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) had been accepted by his Ministry "as a road map and guide for overcoming the tremendous economic burden of CNCDs in Barbados."
The two-day expo is in recognition of World Diabetes Day, November 14, and is being held under the theme "Diabetes Education and Prevention". It will continue tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Two Mile Hill.