With 200 amputations said to taking place annually at the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital, officials today warned that the local rate of diabetes remains too high.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Diabetes Foundation Cally Boyea sounded the warning, while calling for greater focus on early detection and prevention of the life-altering disease.
“In Barbados, this monitoring is of specific importance keeping in mind that approximately 20 per cent of our population is affected by diabetes,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Joy St. John also cautioned that “the prevalence of diabetes in Barbados remains too high, with an estimated 25,000 Barbadians and residents diagnosed with diabetes”. Dr St John added that between 600 to 800 new cases were reported annually.
Describing it as a “national public health crisis”, the senior health official revealed that the Ministry of Health was looking to strengthen its non communicable disease (NCD) programme at the Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic, as well as to improve the services offered at Edgar Cochrane and St Philip polyclinics in response to the diabetes concern.
She said while she would love to see the eradication of NCDs, “Barbados will never be able to treat its way out of chronic disease”. Therefore, she stressed that “prevention is the key and wellness is the goal rather than management of illness”.
As part of activities marking World Diabetes Month in November, the Diabetes Association of Barbados and the Barbados Diabetes Foundation will be holding their annual 5K Fun Walk and Run.
The event, entitled, The Life with Purpose 5K Walk and Run, will feature local entertainers Stiffy Star Quality, Seth Xcel and JusJay.
Participants can also take part in a post-walk exercise with Delroy Sobers of Socbash Workouts.