JIS News

Vice President of the Jamaica Midlife Health Society, Dr. Fay Whitbourne, has advocated increased diabetes testing, to control the disease.
Her call, which has come as the nation prepares to observe National Diabetes Week, November 7 to 14, under the theme, “Understanding Diabetes, Taking Control”, was made Wednesday (November 3) at a JIS Think Tank in Kingston.
Dr. Whitbourne noted that, based on the high morbidity and mortality rate associated with diabetes, testing is vital to preventive and curative care. Pointing to recent surveys, she noted that the prevalence rate is approximately 12 per cent among adults.
“This is a disease that, usually, when acquired, is a lifelong condition that has the potential for very serious complications. If it is caught early, there can be a total difference in the outcome. Testing is important, both before and after the diagnosis is made,” she noted.
Dr. Whitbourne also called for proactivity in screening, and desisting from waiting for symptoms before visiting health care providers.
“By the time they have the frequency of urination, the increased drinking, poor vision and the scratching all over the body, they have had diabetes for a fairly long time and the diabetes by then is out of control,” she explained.
Pointing to the need for continuous blood glucose monitoring, as the only sure means of effective control, Dr. Whitbourne wants persons to acquire a glucomoter, through the National Health Fund, the Diabetes Association of Jamaica (DAJ) or any other available means.
She also expressed concern about the increasing number of children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She noted that, while in the past Type 2 diabetes was almost exclusively confined to the midlife age group, increasingly children are being diagnosed with the condition.
The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, has planned a number of activities for National Diabetes Week. Guided by the theme,
“Take Control, Beat It”, the DAJ and the Ministry of Health will be conducting screenings at health centres and selected locations.
On World Diabetes Day, Sunday, November 7, the DAJ will partner with JAMFIT International to host a Fitness Expo and Diabetes Forum, at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, New Kingston. The public is invited.
To ensure that the children have access to healthy lifestyle information, Ministry of Health and DAJ teams will also be visiting schools to educate students on the importance of leading healthy lifestyles. They will also be measuring the Body Mass Indices of students, to ascertain the likelihood of developing diabetes.