Students from 17 primary schools from the north of the island were today rewarded for their participation in the Maurice Byer Polyclinic’s Diabetic Group’s poster/poetry competition, but it was St. Silas and Roland Edwards Primary Schools, that copped the top prizes.

According to Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Leslie Rollock, who delivered the feature address at the prize-giving ceremony held at the Gordan Greenidge Primary School, Bakers, St. Peter, involvement in the competition, now in its sixth year, provided them with a basic understanding of diabetes mellitus, as well as its treatment and prevention.??

As the country gets ready to observe World Diabetes Day on Sunday, November 14, under the theme, Diabetes Education and Prevention, the Senior Medical Officer of Health urged the nine to 11 year olds to help to spread the message of healthy living through the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases, including diabetes mellitus.?? The disease, she noted, presented an enormous challenge and significant burden, not just on the health care system, but on the entire local economy.??

"I am pleased to note that primary schools here in the North are taking the lead in implementing several of the more practical components of this model.?? I say this because the outcome of this programme will be a more informed and involved public, that is better able to support persons who are affected by diabetes…

I am fully convinced that each participant will be well served both now and well into the future, with the lessons they would have learnt… as these young participants influence family members, friends and neighbours, by modeling behaviours that will assist in the prevention and control of diabetes," she said.??

Dr. Rollock pointed out that the Ministry of Health had established dialogue with various stakeholders, to determine strategic approaches to aid in the reconfiguration of our health care systems towards better responses to the chronic diseases.?? She also reminded those gathered that the Ministry was working closely with the Ministry of Education to facilitate the full implementation of the Guidelines for Healthy and Nutritious Foods in Schools, developed by the National Nutrition Centre.

"This has the potential to assist schools in Barbados to provide a critical component of the environmental support that will allow our children to grow and develop into healthy and productive citizens, who are able to achieve their full potential," Dr. Rollock emphasised.

Estimates from the Barbados Drug Service indicate that for the year 2008, approximately $30 million was spent in the procurement of drugs for the treatment of chronic diseases. Of this sum, $5 million was directly attributed to the acquisition of medicines that were solely for the treatment of diabetes. Another $20 million was ??expended in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.??????

However, the Acting Senior Medical Officer of Health cautioned that: "It must be noted, however, that these figures may be somewhat understated; as they neither account for the costs of salaries and wages of the public officers who would have been employed to handle these medications, nor the transaction costs that would have been incurred in contracting for those pharmaceuticals that would have been obtained through arrangements with private pharmacies."??????

Additionally, data from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital shows that for the year 2008, just over 2000 Barbadians were discharged with diagnoses that included diabetes mellitus.

"Of this number, just under one half (944) were noted to have been under the age of 65 yrs old.?? This situation has clear implications for its impact on the workforce and, therefore, on national productivity.?? But even more troubling than the financial costs, is the burden of grief, pain and suffering that results when a loved one loses his or her vision or a limb to diabetes mellitus; or when we face the ultimate consequence of a life lost prematurely," she said.

First place in the poster competition went to Rakiel Gilkes-Harewood of the St. Silas Primary School; second place went to Kiara Holder, Cherish Lashley, Khadija Wiltshire and Tara Downes of the Roland Edwards Primary School; and sharing third place was Shawnte Leacock of Ignatius Byer and Shaquille Ifill, Keon Downes, Joel Thompson and Jobb Murray, of the All Saint’s Primary School.

Leah Sandiford of Roland Edwards took first place in the poetry competition; Gordon Greenidge School, second place; Jessica Cummins of the All Saint’s Primary School took third place; while Kamesha Jackman of St. Silas took fourth place.

The competition prizes were sponsored by Sagicor General for the fourth consecutive year.?? The ceremony also included performances of some of the winning poetry Diabetes by Jessica Cummins; The Government Changed by Gordan Greenidge School; The Amputated Foot by St. Silas Primary School; and In Denial, performed by Leah Sandiford of Roland Edwards Primary School.????

Pin It on Pinterest