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According to the recently published 2006 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC), the Kingston Metropolitan Region (KMR) reported the lowest prevalence of illness/injury at 9.6 per cent, followed by Other Towns, with 11.4 per cent, and Rural Areas with 14.4 per cent.
As in previous years, more females than males reported injury ( 14.1 and 10.3 per cent respectively). The prevalence rate was below the national average for the 10-49 year age cohort, with the 10-19 years age group reporting the lowest levels of illness/injury of 5.1 per cent. Those reporting higher levels of injury included children zero to four years (20.1 per cent), while it was 28.9 per cent for adults 60 years and over, and 32.3 per cent for those 65 years and older. This, the survey said, represented no significant change compared with 2004.
In relation to duration and severity of illness/injury, the national mean duration was 9.8 days, reflecting little change from 2004 (10 days). By region, persons in Other Towns reported the highest duration of illness at 10.9 days, followed by Rural Areas with 10.1 days, and the Kingston Metropolitan Region reported 8.5 days.
A recurrent illness accounted for 46.5 per cent of those reporting illnesses, representing an increase of 8.3 per cent when compared with the previous survey period. Asthma accounted for 5.2 per cent; hypertension 20.4 per cent; diabetes 10.9 per cent; and arthritis 10.1 per cent. Some 20.5 per cent of persons with chronic illnesses had two or more of these.
Other Towns and Rural Areas showed similar proportions for all the chronic illnesses, with the exception of asthma, while the KMR had the lowest per cent for arthritis (5.0) per cent, hypertension (16.9 per cent), and diabetes (8.3 per cent). This, the report said, may be due in part to the younger age structure of the KMR respondents. According to the JSLC, “although there is no clear pattern by consumption status, the poorest quintile reported the lowest levels of diabetes (6.6 per cent) and hypertension (15.1 per cent), whilst the richest quintile (quintile 5) had the highest, 13.1 per cent and 24.0 per cent, respectively. Arthritis was the highest in Quintile 2 (13.2 per cent) and the lowest in the poorest quintile (7.5 per cent). Asthma was highest in Quintile 4 (9.6) and lowest in the richest quintile (2.8 per cent).” In addition, more of the women who had chronic illnesses in the reference period reported having diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis, while more males reported having asthma (6.4 per cent) compared with 4.5 per cent for the women.
There was a general increase in reported chronic illnesses with age, with the highest levels in the 50 and over age group.
The JSLC is a joint publication of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). The survey provides information at the household level in six modules – demographic characteristics; household consumption; education; health; social welfare and related programmes; and housing. The last full report was published in 2004.