Diabetes Research Effort Launched

By: Curtis Morton

(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- A brief but significant press conference was held on Monday, June 15, 2015 at the conference room of the Ministry of Finance.

Students involved in the research
Students involved in the research

The press conference effectively launched a campaign which seeks to do research to identify the prevalence and distribution of type 2 diabetes in St.Kitts and Nevis.

The research is being led by a team of youthful individuals representing students from the University of Virginia; students from the Charlestown Sixth for College and students from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College.

The topic for the surveillance project originated in consultation with representatives from the St.Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Health and the University of Virginia.

The University of Virginia has engaged with the Ministry of Health in St.Kitts and Nevis for several years now and the main focus of the linkage is to build local research capacity.

The effort is financially supported by a grant provided by a National Institutes of Health minority and Minority Health International Research training grant (NIH-MHIRT GRANT).

The Research team is led by Dr.Jeanita W. Richardson of the University of Virginia faculty and will also comprise of Corrine Conn, a graduate assistant; four undergraduate students from the University of Virginia; two students from the Nevis Sixth form College in Noelissa Swabe and Aejari Browne and two students from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant college: Michelle Crawford and Ahisha Herbert.

The students were selected after a rigid application process which involved the submission of an essay; a close up look at their grade point averages and an interview process. Some 39 students applied in the USA and only 10 were selected. Some of the students have gone on a similar mission to South Africa.
The students from St.Kitts and Nevis who applied had to go through a similar process.

The local faculty partners are Dr. Merissa O’Connor from the CFBC and Ms Gail Mills from the Nevis Sixth form College.

The research will involve the surveying of persons with and without Diabetes, over the age of 18, about their knowledge of the disease, perceptions about risks involved, self management and prevention.

The survey which is estimated to average about ten to fifteen minutes in duration will have about twenty questions which will seek responses on issues such as diet, physical activity, diabetes and lifestyle. Persons interviewed will not have to identify themselves.

The students will meet and greet members of the public in such places as the ferry terminal and public parking lots.

The information once collated will be analyzed at the University of Virginia and shared with the Ministry of Health in St.Kitts and Nevis.

The press conference was ably chaired Mrs. Nadine Carty-Caines HIV/AIDS Coordinator at the Health Promotion Unit and welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Mrs. Nicole Slack-Liburd, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

Also making a brief presentation was Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health on Nevis who assured the general public that once the data is analyzed, the findings will be used by the Ministry of Health to inform and guide health interventions and education that best meet the needs of the local citizens.

After the presentations by the members of the head table, the media personnel present had an opportunity to field relevant questions.

The team of researchers will commence the survey this week and will conclude on the 23rd of June and return to Virginia on the 24th of June.

The general public is kindly asked to be cordial and receptive to the young researchers.

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