Local health officials are continuing to grapple with the reality that some 16,000 Barbadians are living with diabetes. In light of this, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss has declared that persons working in health care in Barbados, ??including private institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), must do better to prevent and manage this disease.

Mr. Inniss was at the time receiving a donation of books on diabetes from the Kiwanis Club of Barbados and the Unites States Embassy at the US Embassy, Wildey, St. Michael today. ??

According to the latest risk factor study, carried out in 2007 by the Ministry of Health, six per cent of the total population of Barbados is living with diabetes.?? This country also has the unenviable reputation of having the highest amputee rate per capita, worldwide, with as many as 250 Barbadians losing a limb to diabetes each year.??

"There is evidence there that we can do much better with respect to diabetes in Barbados, both in terms of prevention as well as better management.?? And these books here today will do a lot to help us in that particular battle.?? We certainly believe that the reputation of being the amputation capital of the world is one that Barbados does not want to have, or to maintain," he said.

While pointing out that the books would be placed in the polyclinics as reference tools to aid in the diagnosis and management of diabetes, Minister Inniss also mentioned that over the next few weeks he would be meeting with doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in the private sector, as well as with the NGO’s involved with diabetes management, to deal with the issue in an aggressive way.?? ??

Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy Dr. Brent Hardt, said he was pleased to work with the Kiwanis to provide the books to the Ministry of Health.??

"It’s hard to understate how critical diabetes education is in Barbados.?? We all know the grim figures that tell the tale of the toll that diabetes has taken here… and I understand that this figure could double by 2030 as ongoing lifestyle changes, with more fast food and less exercise, increase diabetes rates, not only here in Barbados, but worldwide as well," Dr. Hardt commented.

President of the Kiwanis Club of Barbados, Jennifer Hinkson, was also on hand to present the books to the Health Minister.

According to CARICOM estimates, diabetes costs this country some BDS $58 million in direct and indirect costs.??lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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