$209m blow

Govt counts the cost of NCDs

The struggling Barbados economy is losing $145 million a year as the cost of treating non-communicable diseases (NCDs) continues to soar, according to Minister of Health John Boyce.

Boyce Monday morning told a consultation on a National Strategic Plan for Health that the treatment of hypertension and diabetes alone accounted for 58 per cent of expenditure by the Barbados Drug Service last year.

In addition, he said the losses due to lost productivity took the cost of fighting cardiovascular diseases and diabetes well above the $200 million mark.

The minister quoted from a report on the Investment Case for NCD Prevention and Control in Barbados commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organization in 2015, which estimated that “while BDS$64 million was spent on the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, it was indicated that our economy may be losing as much as BDS$145 million annually due to missed work days, low productivity and reduced workforce participation.

“In other words, the direct and indirect economic cost of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes was over BDS$209 million annually, or about two per cent of Barbados’ gross domestic product,” Boyce said.

He added that end stage renal failure was also a growing public health concern, driven primarily by high levels of hypertension and diabetes in the population.

He noted that while Barbados can boast of significant health improvements in the post-independent period, and communicable diseases were no longer the leading causes of illness and death, health officials now faced outbreaks of new diseases, the re-emergence of infectious diseases in other countries, as well as the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, which dictate the need for surveillance measures to prevent outbreaks from occurring here.

“In January 2016, Barbados like other countries in the region, recorded its first cases of Zika. Rapid international travel and trade, population movements, water management practices and climate change are among the factors that create opportunities for the global spread of such diseases,” he said.

He also highlighted the progress made so far in the treatment of HIV, through the ministry’s Treat All initiative, which allows people infected with the virus to access treatment.

According to Boyce, the programme will also assist Barbados to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target, which seeks to increase to 90 per cent, the proportion of people with HIV who know their status; increase the number of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment to 90 per cent; and increase the proportion of people under treatment who have an undetectable viral load to 90 per cent by 2020.

“To support these and other objectives, a new laboratory is currently under construction at the Ladymeade compound.  This new facility when completed, will amalgamate the existing Public Health, Leptospira and Ladymeade Reference Unit,” Boyce stated, adding that those were some of the areas to be discussed at this week’s consultation.

He said that the National Strategic Plan would ensure that Barbados had universal health coverage and meet its international obligations, particularly with respect to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“This will include the need to identify appropriate models of care, the human resources required, the appropriate governance structure with supporting regulatory frameworks and cost containment mechanisms, with particular emphasis on sustainability, access to care and quality improvements,” he said.

This week’s talks will focus on health sector reform, health system efficiency and cost containment, patient experience and access, and quality improvement.

14 Responses to $209m blow

  1. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince April 3, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    This fellow is a joker . .whatttttt????

    • VoR April 4, 2017 at 11:06 am

      No, he’s speaking the truth. NCDs are expensive to treat and are for the most part preventable.

  2. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince April 3, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Another distraction….

  3. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen April 3, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    So wa ya going do next .let the rest of us drop dead too,I see ya close de out patients clinics ,I hope ya open them back.

  4. Jennifer April 3, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    like if they give a shyte.

  5. Tony Webster April 4, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Hmmm….the scales are faling-off willfully blind eyes, as fast as C.B.B. presses are turning. Cud be some folks have actually meeting a guy whilst walking to Damascus?
    More likely, simply Reality Syndrome has to make an make an appearance: political parties (plural) seeking to soften-up things, ahead of some policy-rethinks which have to feature as such things are reduced to writing in the manifestos now being drafted. We wouldn’t wish a fresh set of cardiac-infaction cases headed into the Q.E.H….would we now?

    Well…you now how hard it is to buy land and hide….AND to work it, right?

  6. Leroy April 4, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Well stop feeding the primary school kids hot dogs and ham burgers.

    • VoR April 4, 2017 at 11:21 am

      What about what they are eating at home? The get one meal a day at school. What about the other two given by their parents?

  7. Sheron Inniss April 4, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Now I know I shall be cussed for this but it’s okay. Thou shalt not blame any government for you and yours health problems. It starts with you. Yes they should put in place the necessary social services and infrastructure. I believe what we feed ourselves is our responsibility. Don’t keep blaming the illnesses on the economy. I may be better off now than when I was younger but I choose not to buy junk. Save the corn curls and sweet drink money, etc and use that money to buy healthier food. Wunnah ever hear ’bout ground provisions and other homegrown foods and the foods from our C’bbean neighbours if we don’t have enough? The merchants don’t force feed anyone. Don’t forget the cornbeef; I loves it – cornbeef and – pasta, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, anything so. You may not be able to buy the expensive fruits all the time but treat yourselves once and a while. Children don’t need brand name when growing or all the unhealthy foods out there. Neither do adults. We need to respect our temples – feed them the right foods, knowledge and so forth and this Barbados will be blessed. Right actions lead to right results more often than not. You might encounter problems some times but we were never promised rose gardens. Plus roses have thorns that stick real hard. Don’t forget the rain falls on the good, bad and indifferent and so too does the sun shine. Educate youselves for heavens sake. For example – soft drinks leech the calcium from your bones leading to brittle bones down the line and they are too sweet.

    • VoR April 4, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Thank you. This was well said. If you develop a lifestyle disease it’s your fault. Yes ,persons maybe stressed because of economic conditions but eating healthy,nutritious food can help to counteract some of the effects of said stress. Moderation in everything is the key.

  8. Helicopter(8P) April 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Folks not exercising and i mean walking distances, riding bicycles instead of driving or catching a bus and not rely doing physical task as our parents did in gardening!

  9. fedup April 4, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    He picking at dee coming charges when yuh go tuh d polyclinic. Dah will be de nail in DEM coffin. High bp is not always because of lifestyle. It can be hereditary. I got high bp cos duh gave me too much anaesthesia before a surgical procedure. Nuttin to do wid my lifestyle.

  10. Alex Alleyne April 4, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Drinking nuff RUM , eating nuff sweet bread along with pudding-n-souse and not exercising plus never a visit to the DOC but a regular one to the “hole in the wall” to get a “sexual booster” are most of the BAJANS problems.

  11. dynasty009 April 4, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    well subsidize the healthy foods or find means to lower the cost of buying them so that the people have affordable healthy food to eat instead of having to buy junk then and only then will the NCDs be lowered in this country. so the government need to workout which one less costly subsidizing healthy foods or treating NCDs so far it seems like treating it cheaper.


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