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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has hailed the work of the country’s nurses, as the international community paid homage to this group of healthcare workers on World Diabetes Day 2020.

In a message to mark the day, which was observed on Saturday (November 14), Minister Tufton said that nurses “are essential, not only as healthcare providers but also as professionals on whom we can rely for the promotion of self-care management among patients”.

“Our nurses also play a role in helping to safeguard the mental health of their diabetic patients, from identifying emergent psychosocial needs to making the appropriate interventions to support their patients,” he added.

Minister Tufton said that this year’s World Diabetes Day theme, ‘Diabetes: Nurses Make a Difference’, is most appropriate, as it comes against the background of the year 2020 being designated as the ‘Year of the Nurse’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).

He is encouraging all stakeholders, from persons living with diabetes, their families and friends to others involved in their care, to join the nurses in the effort to ensure the best possible health outcomes and to, as far as possible, engage in behaviours to reduce the incidence of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCD).

Those behaviours, he said, include increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, having routine health checks, and strict adherence to medication.

The Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey 2016-2017 (JHLS Survey III), indicated that diabetes accounted for 12.7 per cent of all deaths in Jamaica in 2016 with a total 2,339 persons dying from the disease.

Data further indicate that while 92.5 per cent of Jamaicans 15 years and older with the disease are on treatment, just 27.5 per cent are controlled.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has turned the spotlight on diabetes for the month of November with a number of activities across the island.

These include two community interventions in Troja District, St. Catherine and Pembroke Hall, St. Andrew; training of healthcare workers in the clinical management of diabetes; launch of the public-private partnership for NCD care (diabetes and hypertension); sharing health education messages through traditional and social media; and a panel discussion focused on the holistic management of diabetes.

The Year of the Nurse 2020, honours the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is considered to be the founder of modern nursing. She was born in May 12, 1820.

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