Busting diabetes

Minister John Boyce cuts ribbon for new diabetes bus.
Minister John Boyce cuts ribbon for new diabetes bus.

The Barbados Diabetes Association should now be breathing a sigh of relief after receiving a mobile unit at Simpson Motors, Warrens, St. Michael this evening.

Minister of Health John Boyce praised the private sector for its role in the provision of the bus that would provide mobile diabetic services in the island, stating: “Over the years, there has been increasing interest on the part of the private sector and civil society in taking an active role in the health sector. “This trend is to be encouraged. The Ministry of Health has developed and approved a policy on philanthropy which will give guidance to both the Ministry of Health and interested benefactors who want to make a contribution to improve the health and wellbeing of Barbadians.”

Boyce said his ministry was committed to the WHO Global Action plan and Monitoring Framework and would ensure that mechanisms were in place to facilitate management of non- communicable diseases.

“The National NCD Commission will soon be reconstituted and will continue its work to engage other sectors to address the risk factors that are associated with unhealthy diet, tobacco use and alcohol consumption,” he said.

He added that his ministry had entered an agreement to support the Specialist Care Diabetes Centre to be operated by the Diabetes Foundation. The centre will provide specialist services to persons with diabetes especially those who have difficulty controlling their condition.

“On the clinical side, the polyclinics continue to provide care and support to members of the public who are living with diabetes, as well as to conduct prevention activities in communities. However we are currently examining the approach that is being used and will be taking steps to implement a new treatment approach when the new St. John Polyclinic is opened.

“This will see the adoption of the chronic care model which calls for greater use of the team approach, a more activated and involved patient and greater use of community resources. It is our intention that the model will be piloted at St. John and then expanded to other polyclinics,” he said.

Managing director and CEO of Republic Bank Barbados, Ian De Souza, said the bus project had been on the table for many years. He added that it was estimated that about 25,000 people in Barbados have diabetes, a figure that could double by 2020 if the trend continues.

“You can see therefore why the contribution of this mobile unit to the Diabetes Association of Barbados to facilitate its community outreach programmes was deemed to be absolutely critical. As we envision it, the Diabetes Association can now not only continue its education programmes, but it can go into communities across Barbados to conduct diabetes testing, teach and help monitor the correct administration of diabetes medications, and conduct examinations with the assistance of a chiropodist.

“We are contributing this vehicle — outfitted for all these things — with the objective of reversing this trend of rising diabetes and lower-extremity amputation that earned this country such a disturbing and unfortunate moniker,” De Souza stated.

The CEO said that Simpson Motors, Rubis, Insurance Corporation of Barbados and L&N Workshop were also partners in the provision of the vehicle. (MR)

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