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Health Minister, John Boyce cutting the ribbon at the handing over ceremony for a new mobile unit by Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited to the Diabetes Association of Barbados at Simpson Motors, Warrens, St. Michael.??(A.Miller/BGIS)??

The opening of the St. John Polyclinic will usher in a new approach as to how diabetes is treated in the public health care system.

Minister of Health, John Boyce, made the disclosure recently at the handover of a new mobile unit by Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited to the Diabetes Association of Barbados.

"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 in St. John and then expanded to other polyclinics," he said.

The Health Minister explained that in response to the challenges faced by governments when it came to the burdens associated with diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, the World Health Assembly at a meeting in May, this year, approved a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

The plan comprises a set of actions which, when undertaken by governments, should help to achieve an overall goal of 25 per cent reduction in deaths from non-communicable diseases by 2025.

Mr. Boyce pointed out that The Action Plan also contained a framework for monitoring and evaluation that should help Government assess the progress of addressing risk factors such as raised blood glucose, physical inactivity, fruit and vegetable intake and obesity levels among others.

He noted that a multi-sectoral response among government sectors, the private sector and civil society was necessary to successfully implement the Plan.

"Successful implementation and use of this approach will require planning and coordination; and communication between all sectors, communities and individuals to address the factors that influence health status, recognising that many of these factors are outside the health sector. Examples would include the availability and price of food

items, facilities for physical activity, workplace health promotion policies and social support systems," Mr. Boyce emphasised.

He further added that chronic diseases had a major economic impact on individuals, families, the health system and the society at large. Mr. Boyce told those at the handover ceremony that the National NCD Commission had been reconstituted and would continue its work to engage other sectors to address the risk factors that were associated with unhealthy diet, tobacco use and alcohol consumption.

He praised the work of the Diabetes Association of Barbados, adding that the acquisition of the bus would greatly enhance its efforts.

The Health Minister said many persons with diabetes had been able to achieve better control and management of the condition because of the work of the Association.

"Within Barbados, non-governmental organisations have been significant contributors to disease prevention and health promotion. As our disease profile has shifted from communicable to non-communicable diseases, NGOs have re-oriented their interests and expanded the scope of their activities.

"This is certainly the case with the Diabetes Association of Barbados which over the years has moved to establish a more formal operational structure that enables more effective management of day-to-day activities and contributes towards the achievement of its goals and objectives," he noted.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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