Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 17, 2015 (SKNIS): Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, identified Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) as one of the leading causes of death in St. Kitts and Nevis while lending her support to the Appropriation Bill 2016 (2015) on December 17, 2015.
In making her Budget response, Minister Phipps noted that NCDs is responsible for just above 10 percent of the deaths.
“The leading causes of death as I indicated are NCDs mainly heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes complications which accounts for 11 percent and regrettably homicide,” Minister Phipps said. “The leading cause of our morbidity [the proportion of sickness or of a specific disease in a geographical locality] would include obesity which is the biggest one at 14 percent, asthma, injuries, child neglect and abuse.”
“As it relates to hypertension, we have just approximately 1,328 registered patients at the community-based health system,” Minister Phipps said, noting that the figure is not final due to the fact that a number of persons seek medical attention from their private physicians. “Likewise diabetes, we have 1,155 registered patients at the health centres in St. Kitts but the studies that we have conducted however, indicate that up to 20 percent of our population which is just over 48,000 persons are presenting with elevated levels of blood glucose, so it tells us that that figure is a lot higher than we think.”
Specific reference was also made to cancer in the Federation.
“Our NCDs, St. Kitts and Nevis, in terms of cancer has an incidence of 53 cases of which 38 are female,” Minister Phipps said. “There are 21 such cancer cases in Nevis and this is for a year, not the quantum. The leading cancers are breast cancer which represent 22.6 percent, cervical cancer 20.7 percent and we have about 3 cases annually of prostate cancer.”
Pertaining to the longevity of life of residents of the Federation, Minister Phipps said that life expectancy is an average of 75 years which is an increase from 50 years of age in 1960. She differentiated by gender.
“Life expectancy for females is at 77 years, with men slightly lower at 72,” the Minister said. “Our total births, annual births average 556 and of course the live births are totaling 547 and for those others it would be a case of prematurity or congenital abnormalities which prevent those children from being born and living a healthy life.”
Revealing the latest HIV statistic, the Minister responsible for Health also said that there is “an average of 12 new cases per year and for this past year there was one death, which was a male.” She compared this to the statistics from 2014, that showed that there were 16 cases. It was revealed that over 1,800 HIV tests had been conducted in 2015.