By Ernesto Cooke – Minister of Health luke Browne speaking at a ceremony for the signing of a bilateral agreement between Taiwan and St Vincent on Thursday 1st February 2018, said that based on a 2102 survey, officials in the ministry of health saw that the number of persons who reported themselves as having diabetes rose from 3750 in 2001 to 6700 in 2012.
Browne said with that you can see this is a problem that is growing, an increase of 17 percent, and it is important for us to nip it in the bud, hence the reason for this particular project.
“ We want to emphasize prevention, we want to empower people to take care of themselves, and if possible to we want to provide medical assistance to people in need”.
Minister Browne said that diabetes represents a substantial problem for our country, which if left unchecked could have a serious impact on productivity.
He said the age group which is affected the most is between 45 – 64, noting that many of those persons are still in the workforce.
“ If we impact on productivity like that, it is going to hinder our development thrust, persons who have to face this debilitating chronic non-communicable disease will realize it has a lot of costs associated with it”.
Browne said the cost of medicine is significant and ongoing, and persons get to the point where they have to use insulin, and of course, it could lead to mortality, he said.
“ It has been identified as the third leading cause of death based on information from 2016, it also leads to individuals doing amputations, this is significant and we are going to fight it”.
Minister Browne said the authorities want Vincentians to enjoy the highest quality of life, including minimizing or even eliminating the problem of diabetes in St Vincent.
The bilateral agreement signed on Thursday between Taiwan and St Vincent includes capacity building geared at preventing and controlling diabetes, Some 2 Million dollars in funding would be provided by Taiwan for the program.