Centre to reduce diabetes

A centre that promises to rid Barbados of its notorious title of “amputation capital of the Caribbean” has opened with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart promising a nationwide press against the diabetes that costs Barbadians their limbs.

Stuart declared open the Maria Holder Diabetes Centre For The Caribbean that will specialize in preventative, therapeutic, and rehabilitative treatment, serving Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in a fight against this illness
that is widespread across the region. The high number of Barbadians suffering from this disease, caused mainly by lifestyle habits, earned the island the infamous title because, when not managed properly diabetes can lead to amputations, mainly of the leg.

Named after Maria Holder, a driving force behind the facility and the fight against diabetes in Barbados, the centre’s Saturday opening date marked the tenth anniversary of her passing

Chairman of the Diabetes Foundation of Barbados, Dr Oscar Jordan, said in addition to being the storage of all diabetes information in Barbados and probably the Eastern Caribbean, the centre “will through education and early intervention reduce the number of people developing end-stage complications, like blindness, end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis, and reduce the number
of amputations by at least 30 per cent in the first
five years”.

According to Prime Minister Stuart, some 18,000 Barbadians are living with diabetes, and another 9,000 do not know they have the disease.

“Statistical evidence shows that in excess of 90 per cent of diabetic patients are classified Type 2, which is frequently the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices such as unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity and smoking,” he said, adding: “Far too often, our close family members, friends and colleagues are stricken by the ravages of diabetes . . . . We are also well aware that many cases of diabetes are occurring in younger adults and even children. In our nation, unhealthy eating habits and more sedentary lifestyles are increasingly threatening the health of Barbadians at an
early age.”

He spoke of Government’s intention to bring together its various service agencies to battle the disease.

“A useful approach to combat these diseases will involve the creation of linkages among sectors including health, agriculture, transport, finance, education, youth and sport. Therefore my Government will subscribe to an ‘all-of-Government’ and ‘all-of -society’ approach to address a national response to CDCDs [chronic non-communicable diseases] like diabetes.”

Stuart said that in excess of 300 people with diabetes, referred from private and public health service agencies, would benefit from facilities of the centre.

Pan-American Organization acting regional representative Dr Ernesto Pate said that for an estimated total 30 million diabetics, the Caribbean and North  American regions spent more on the illness that any other area in the world.

Noting that the Barbados figure of 16 per cent of adults afflicted by diabetes was similar to that of Trinidad and Tobago, and slightly lower in other Caribbean territories, he said: “In the Caribbean we have a serious problem of populations with high prevalence with diabetes.”

He said that in other countries with facilities such as the Maria Holder Diabetes Centre, there comes reduction in the risk and burden of this disease, and predicted the service in Warrens “will result in the strengthening in the management and control of our diabetic patients . . . . The overall result should be a reduction in the cost and burden of the diabetics within the population”.

One Response to Centre to reduce diabetes

  1. Tony Webster February 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I am a lucky diabetic: I have all my limbs, and digits, thanks to competent medical care….and also to my formulary-provided diabetic medications. I however have relatives who have had very close ‘encounters’ with amputations. Far too many!
    May I offer my thanks to those gracious, kind, and visionary benefactors who have made the centre, a reality.
    And thanks also to Maria.


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