Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 20, 2015 (SKNIS): Minister of State, responsible for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, stated that Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) pose a serious threat on the lives of nationals and calls for individuals to take better care of themselves.
Appearing on the radio and television programme, “Working for You”, the health minister stated that non communicable type diseases that are prevalent in the Federation include cancer, diabetes and cardiac or hypertensive issues.
“What we are realising is that NCDs are responsible for our greatest rate of death in St. Kitts and Nevis and also morbidity,” said Minister Phipps. “We have too many people in this small population of 50,000 who are presented with cancer, with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and most of these are interrelated. Very often we have a person who is morbidly obese, that person more than likely is a case waiting to happen for diabetes especially type 2 diabetes… Those are the types of individuals who also end up with cardiac issues starting with hypertension because the bigger you get, the more pressure you put on your heart to pump blood to all body parts and it puts more pressure on it.”
The health minister revealed that there has been an increase in amputation cases as it relates to the issue of diabetes, especially for persons who are either in denial about their diabetes or having been diagnosed accurately as being diabetic fail to take care of themselves.
“They refuse to follow medication and follow the regimen that the healthcare providers have given them,” stated Minister Phipps. She gave an example of people failing to take care of their feet, stating that there have been cases where persons would step on a nail, do not treat it resulting in gangrene setting in. The person’s toes, foot or entire leg then has to be amputated. She added that these persons are hopefully prompted to take better care of themselves so that they can live a reasonable productive life once they have been fitted with a prosthesis.
“These are some of the challenges that we face in St. Kitts and Nevis,” stated the minister, noting that it is for that reason why the health administration and in particular the Health Promotion Unit spend a lot of time, finances and energy in bringing those types of issues to light and for advocating for self-monitoring. She stated that areas such as glucose (sugar) and blood checks should be done regularly.
“It’s better that you have your annual physical…and keep getting checked,” Minister Phipps stated. “We have several health centres around St. Kitts; there are at least eleven of them. In Nevis, we have about five. You are free to show up at any of these health centres, you are free to go to the Outpatient Department at both hospitals and Mary Charles, in the case of St. Kitts, to get testing done so that you can begin looking at those issues. While you are there, you can get your haemoglobin scanned at the same time because some people might only know at that time if they have a blood deficiency.”