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  • The Ministry of Health has begun the pilot of a $20-million project, aimed at determining the prevalence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • In an interview with JIS News, Principal Investigator in the research group, Dr. Althea Aquart-Stewart, said that the pilot for the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Project would take place over a three-week period, with mapping in two primary sampling units.
  • The pilot is being conducted on every sixth household and involves the issuance of questionnaires to persons in the 18 to 39 age group in 84 primary sampling units across the island.

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Department of Medicine Pulmonary Research Group, has begun the pilot of a $20-million project, aimed at determining the prevalence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

In an interview with JIS News, Principal Investigator in the research group, Dr. Althea Aquart-Stewart, said that the pilot for the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Project would take place over a three-week period, with mapping in two primary sampling units.

“We will be going into unit 34, which is the Washington Boulevard, Weymouth Drive and Riverton area and unit 35, which is the Bog Walk, Linstead, Rio Cobre region. I am appealing to the residents to co-operate with us,” she urged.

The pilot, which began with mapping on July 7, is being conducted on every sixth household and involves the issuance of questionnaires to persons in the 18 to 39 age group in 84 primary sampling units across the island.

Spirometry tests will be administered on persons within the same households that are over the age of 40.

“Spirometry is a test that involves the patient breathing into an instrument that looks at air flow and other key factors and a doctor will always be on hand to ensure correct diagnoses,” Dr. Aquart-Stewart said, adding that the tests will be used to diagnose COPD, which is one of the leading tobacco-induced diseases.

The Principal Investigator said that persons in the over 40 age group would also be issued with a questionnaire; however it would be different from that issued to the younger cohort.

Dr. Aquart-Stewart explained that the research, which is being funded jointly by the National Health Fund and the (UWI) Principal’s Initiative Fund, will be conducted over an six-month period.

“It will provide Jamaicans with hard evidence of the prevalence of COPD and the burden of tobacco use and exposure to other environmental pollutants,” she said.

She pointed out that the project will also be used to establish information on the economic burden of the disease in the 18 to 39 age group by looking at factors, such as the recurrent costs of doctors’ visits, medication and productive time lost.

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