There is a ‘wanted alive’ bulletin for persons in Barbados between ages 40 and 60 who may be on track for a collision with diabetes, a disease so prevalent in this island that it accounts for hundreds of deaths annually.
The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus’ seek-and-find-before-it’s-too-late warrant for Bajans and permanent residents within that age group is part of a programme to identify those who may be on their way to contracting this disease, and through workshops educate and encourage them on needed lifestyle changes, including weight loss by proper eating and exercise.
This search comes against the backdrop of a 2015 International Diabetes Federation report revealing that 34,100 people in Barbados between ages 20 to 79 were known to have diabetes, 335 of them died, but at that time, an estimated 9,600 others still had the disease but didn’t know they had it. At that same time, a Health of the Nation study conducted by the Ministry of Health found that 14.6 per cent of this island’s estimated 375,000 population was harbouring conditions making them pre-diabetic.
UWI states that its project, titled Lifestyle Intervention with Metformin Escalation (LIME), is a research study being conducted by Yale University in collaboration with partners throughout the Caribbean, including the Barbados university campus and the Ministry of Health.
Not sitting back and waiting for persons to make contact, UWI, in the person of Lecturer in Family Medicine, Dr Joseph Herbert, turned up to solicit likely candidates attending a National Drug Service diabetes forum at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre Tuesday.
He said, this “study is looking to prove that we can reduce the chance of getting diabetes in people who are overweight between 40 and 60… we are trying to get people to join this programme and help prevent them from turning into diabetics by helping [them] to lose weight. It is the first diabetes prevention programme in a black population.”
Dr Herbert, who was counselling persons and collecting contact information for the follow-up appointments, explained: “What we’re trying to do is to set up community-based workshops which teach people about a healthy diet, exercise and stress management that helps them to lose weight and reduce the risk of getting diabetes”.
He said that persons are enlisted in this programme if they are found to be pre-diabetic through a special pre-diabetic blood test called ‘HBA1C’.
He said that once this programme is proven workable “we’re hoping to spread these free community-based workshops throughout the whole island and make them available at places like churches and workplaces, because what’s special about our programme is that it can be taught by lay-people. It doesn’t have to be taught by a professional”.
Interested persons within the target age group can get more information by calling the Ministry of Health Hotline – 536-4500; emailing Limeprojectbarbados@gmail.com; or visiting the Facebook page, LIME Diabetes Prevention Project – Barbados. This programme holds the potential to arrest the growth of a diabetes affliction rate that is estimated to affect one in five persons over age 25. (GA)