Barbadians are being asked to co-operate with officers collecting data for Government’s Health of The Nation Study, which is currently under way.?? The study, an initiative of the Ministry of Health and the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC), will look at the risk factors which contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

However, the study’s project manager, Christina Howitt of the CDRC, said it was in jeopardy since the majority of people approached were refusing to take part.

Ms. Howitt explained that officers from the Statistical Services Department were conducting the Labour Force Survey and, as a requirement, were asking those surveyed to also take part in the Health of The Nation Study.

"A lot of people are saying ???no, we don’t want to be part of any other survey’. What happens is that, if they say yes, our recruitment officer contacts them and gives them more information about the study and makes an appointment for one of our nurses to go see them. However, some people are saying no even at that point. Also, a lot of the time people are pretending not to be at home so it has been proving difficult. It is extremely important that everybody invited to take part says ???yes’," Ms. Howitt disclosed.

She said the findings of the study would have an impact on every Barbadian since it would not only provide Government with information regarding the risk factors for chronic diseases, but it would also be helpful in coming up with preventative measures. The project manager added that participants would also benefit because

they would be visited by a doctor or nurse who would give them free health checks ranging from blood pressure and cholesterol testing to blood sugar tests.

The survey, which is done over a two-day period, involves a questionnaire as well as blood taking.??

"…The reason why we want to take blood samples is that we want to know your fasting blood sugar [and] your fasting cholesterol. These are critical because that is how we make a diagnosis of diabetes or hyperlipidemia…The interviewer or the person who is collecting the data is going to come back the following day or a day that is convenient to the participant to have their blood sample drawn," explained Senior Medical Officer of Health responsible for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. Kenneth George.

Interviewees are also expected to give an account of any family history of diabetes, hypertension or cancer, as well as some indication of whether they attend a private or public doctor, and whether they have health insurance. In addition, they will be required to provide basic demographic information such as address, age, socio-economic information and educational status. The study which started in September, last year, is projected to finish by November, this year.


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