JIS News

As part of efforts to stem the growing incidences of diabetes, the Ministry of Health is expanding its prevention education activities by increasing screening and outreach sites across Jamaica.
According to Medical Epidemiologist in the Chronic Diseases and Injuries Unit of the Ministry, Dr. Tamu Davidson-Saddler, this approach, paired with improved quality of care for those already living with the disease, has been improving the detection and control rate.
She pointed out that currently there are eight such health centre sites covering the four regional health authorities.
“We know that in improving the quality of care and ensuring that patient and health care needs are proactive in terms of care, we can prevent complications, reduce admissions to hospitals, death and disability,” she told JIS News.
Dr. Davidson-Saddler emphasised that only with increased screenings and effective monitoring of persons with diabetes, can there be significant reduction in this and other chronic diseases affecting Jamaicans.
She also noted that the solution to reducing the socio-economic impact of diabetes, and other chronic diseases, rests with Jamaicans being educated about the importance of adopting healthier lifestyles.
“If you are educated and you understand what the implications are for chronic diseases, if you address physical inactivity, if you address the unhealthy diet and obesity, you are addressing cardiac diseases, you are addressing diabetes, you are addressing cancer,” she said.
“Although there are genetic pre-dispositions to some of these diseases, many are lifestyle related and can be addressed through addressing risk factors,” she added. She also bemoaned the relaxed attitude of many persons suffering from the condition which has claimed the lives of many Jamaicans.
“In Jamaica, just over 56 per cent of deaths are due to chronic, non-communicable diseases,” she noted. “A 2008 survey showed that one in every four persons had hypertension, and one in 13 had diabetes. Of those surveyed, one quarter (

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