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JIS News

The 14th Annual International Diabetes Conference, aimed at increasing awareness of diabetes and seeking solutions to the challenges presented by the disease, is presently underway at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay.
The conference, which is being held from March 6 to 9, is organized by the University Diabetes Outreach Programme (UDOP).
Hundreds of local and regional health care personnel as well as from Canada and North America, are participating in the event, which has been bolstered by the collaborative efforts of the University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, and the Northern Caribbean University.
The three Caribbean universities have committed to expanding diabetes research efforts, to educate and train personnel in the field of diabetes, as well as promote efforts to educate persons with the disease and populations at risk for the condition.
In giving the keynote address at the official opening ceremony held yesterday morning (March 6) at Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean, Dr. Ernest Madu, observed that a multi-pronged initiative was needed to explore the future of health care services and delivery in developing countries, taking advantage of advances in science and technology breakthroughs in battling pandemics such as diabetes.
“It is important to identify common ground amongst stakeholders that could serve as the basis of future collective action to advance the process of health care reform that recognizes the transformative value and cost effectiveness of appropriate use of technology in disease management,” he said. Dr. Madu added that, “the vision of effective diabetes care in developing societies must start with a paradigm shift that recognizes the immense technological advances and monumental research advances in diabetes and cardiovascular healthcare over the past 25 years.” He further asserted that for Jamaica and other developing and low resource nations to benefit from these advances in medicine, health care infrastructure must be modernized, while promoting primary health initiatives, especially in light of overwhelming evidence supporting the link between good health, wealth and economic growth. Dr. Madu stressed that “a healthier population equals a more productive work force, a more productive work force leads to a more sustained economic growth, more employment and more revenue for government.” He therefore urged all health care providers to ensure they are advocating the best options for their patients by becoming better informed of new trends, discoveries and treatment procedures in the sector. Diabetes is found in 10 to18 per cent of the Caribbean population. Jamaica remains at the high end with some 18 per cent afflicted with the condition. This translates to approximately 300,000 persons over 15 years having the condition, some of whom are unaware of their status.