Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 07, 2016 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health in St. Kitts and Nevis is doing its part in helping residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to find out their health status by providing free and confidential health screenings generally, but this year it is doing it specifically on World Health Day (April 07).
Health Educator in the Ministry of Health, Vera Edwards-France, explained that this is in keeping with the objectives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which chose the theme of “Beat Diabetes: Scale up Prevention, Strengthen Care and Enhance Surveillance.”
“The World Health Organisation has focused its attention on diabetes, the reduction of diabetes, scaling up surveillance and healthcare,” Mrs. Edwards-France said, outlining that these are the objectives of the Ministry of Health pertaining to the chronic illness. “We are here at the circus, we also have three other locations – the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Baker’s Corner, Upper College Street Ghaut next to CJ’s Tailoring and Lower Shear Lane.”
Xarista (pronounced Charista) Collins, a nurse based at the Basseterre Health Centre revealed that the statistics on diabetes show cause for concern.
“We’re screening here because one out of 10 persons are not knowing that they have diabetes,” Ms. Collins said. “So we’re here screening, testing and we’ll do referrals if they are needed, if anything is elevated, whether blood sugar or blood pressure.”
Screening was done for HIV and the waist-hip ratio assessment. The waist-hip ratio is one reliable method of determining if someone is at risk for certain chronic illnesses.
“The persons’s waistline should always be smaller than the hip size,” Mrs. Edwards-France said. “Whether you’re male, female, whatever your ethnicity, your waist should always be smaller than your hip. If your waist is bigger than your hip, it shows that you are at risk for several chronic illnesses such as heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, sugar and other illnesses.”
Pertaining to the HIV test, Mrs. Edwards-France revealed that two of the sites, the Circus and Lower Shear Lane, were offering the point of care rapid test which involves a finger prick rather than having blood drawn.
Lucine Pemberton, Health Educator, noted that the link between testing for diabetes and HIV could easily be made.
“We are performing HIV tests, the real focus is on diabetes, but we decided to include HIV,” Ms. Pemberton said. “As you know, this is Sugar City (popular name for St. Kitts), so apparently our sex is sweeter than any other Caribbean island based on what we are seeing. So since it is all in the area of sugar and sweetness, then we decided to do an HIV test because a lot of people are engaging in sugar eating.”