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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, April 17, IWN – The Ministry of Health on Wednesday issued a statement responding to “recent claims in the media regarding the lack or absence of health education and promotion activities designed for persons with chronic diseases.

“These claims were made specifically regarding the management of diabetes and hypertension,” the Ministry said but did not identify the nature of the claims or where in the media they were disseminated.

The full text of the statement is below:

Statement by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment avails itself of this opportunity to refute recent claims in the media regarding the lack or absence of health education and promotion activities designed for persons with chronic diseases. These claims were made specifically regarding the management of diabetes and hypertension. We would, therefore, wish to share the following information with the public:

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I. At the macro level, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has adopted as its key tool for the management of diabetes and hypertension regional guidelines developed by the Caribbean Health and Research Council. These guidelines were developed specifically for the Caribbean context and have a strong focus on health promotion, health education, and advocate meaningful involvement of patients in the management of their illness. This patient centered care involves the inclusion of patients in discussion of choice and action of pharmacological agents, setting chemical and other therapeutic targets, and it also aims to educate on the non-pharmacological management of diabetes and hypertension. These facts are quite evident in numerous communities across the country and bear testimony to our efforts in this regard.

II. There is a national formulary committee which meets regularly to look at our national therapeutic formulary regarding the management of hypertension and diabetes, and this committee makes recommendations based on available best practices and recommendations from the World Health Organisation. These discussions are usually very inclusive, robust and consultative. Recommendations are solicited from medical practitioners at both the primary and secondary levels. This process allows for the development of a most effective, scientifically sound and well circulated formulary. This translates into extensive knowledge about the contents of the formulary by physicians, and greater opportunities for educating the general public.

III. Further to the actions mentioned hitherto, we are pleased to state that all preliminary activities have been concluded to roll out another initiative designed to strengthen patient centered care and education. This involves the adding of glucose testing materials to formulary, and making them available for use by patients in their home setting. Patients are being taught how to use the equipment, how to interpret results and what actions are to be taken based on tests results.

IV. National Food based Dietary Guidelines for St. Vincent and the Grenadines were developed and launched five years ago. These guidelines, also available in a brochure form, speak to food groups, offers information on the different types of foods and portion sizes, articulate the caloric content of food, and offer advice on what foods to avoid. Apart from assisting patients with diabetes and hypertension, advocating healthy living and promoting healthy lifestyles at the community level, Community Nutrition Officers are available for group as well as individual dietary counseling. In-patients at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital have access to dietary counseling and are usually consulted during their in-patient stay. A new initiative being featured by the Nutrition Unit is one which focuses on healthy living and eating, and it aims to equip communities with skills and knowledge to achieve this goal. In this regard, there is a group in the community of Greiggs. Citizens are being educated on food safety, dietary guidelines, backyard farming and healthy eating and living, inter alia. Another group in this regard is to be started soon in Buccament. While we acknowledge that the number of community nutrition officers is limited, the role which they play in promoting healthy lifestyles and advising on diet cannot and must not be slighted.

V. As part of our community outreach and development, the Health Promotion Unit has initiated healthy ageing community groups. Two of these groups presently exist in Biabou and Park Hill, and another is to be started shortly on Bequia. This is essentially a patient and community centered initiative, aimed at empowering communities and building resilience among our ageing population. Citizens are involved in community exercise programmes, planning and implementing educational programmes, with a strong focus on chronic non-communicable diseases. The Health Promotion Unit continues to educate the public via the weekly Health Word programmes aired on NBC radio, We FM and Garifuna radio. Young people are also educated on CNCDs via the Youth Guidance programmes which are established in Kingstown, Fair Hall, Sandy Bay, Owia , Overland and Bequia.

VI. The Community Nursing Service plays a pivotal role in the delivery of health care in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Their role does not include only medical interventions. The nurses also play a vital role in advising patients on adherence and compliance, dietary requirements and generally keeping healthy. Each district nurse sets aside protected time to do counseling for patients with diabetes and hypertension. These sessions invariably involve not only patients, but also their significant others and care givers. An important and sometimes overlooked category of nurses are Nurse Practitioners. They possess key skills, not only in diagnosing and treating, but also in counseling patients, by virtue of their role in school health and promoting healthy lifestyles. They have access not only to individual patients but their families also. These Nurses are now responsible for prescribing blood glucose testing equipment and also for following patients with diabetes at the primary care level.

VII. Our primary care staff profile includes nurses who are trained in diabetic foot care. These nurses provide not only therapeutic services to clients, but they also teach self examination and home foot care to patients. This area of work augurs well for our country with a relatively high amputation rate.

While there remains room for further development in the education and empowerment of our patients with chronic non-communicable diseases, we must indeed recognize and highlight what we are doing, and also compliment our staff on our achievements, and set plans to further develop our primary care system to meet the needs of our population.

9 replies on “Ministry of Health responds to ‘claims in the media’ about NCDs”

  1. The real help for the peoples health would be to get rid of the ULP, its leader, and the Marxist policies.

    Perhaps if that happened there would be an improvement in the supply of drugs, medicines, dressings, bedding, toilet paper, instruments and equipment.

    Get the hospital back to its previous cleanliness and hygiene. Get the staff back to the proper numbers. Get back our great doctors, lost to a regime that doesn’t care about them.

    People are terrified of being hospitalized in SVG, because there is more chance of dying than living once you enter our hospital system. Even the prime minister and his family go anywhere but SVG for hospital treatment.

  2. Mr. Health Minister, It is not a matter of refuting recent claims in the media regarding the lack or absence of health education and promotion activities designed for persons with chronic diseases. There has to be some truth to the claims since your document named a few towns and villages involved in your program. So what happens to the people in other villages and towns in SVG?
    Did you ever think there are folks and places not receiving the help you mentioned? Stop making excuses and give us some data to show how well system is working. Are there stats to show that folks are following the directives given to them? Is there follow up data to show improvement in the health of those in the loop? Unless you have the information to show the programs are working, “YOU AINT DO NOTING YET”.
    Get your officers out in the communities to help educate the citizens. Don’t depend on brochures, NBC radio, We FM and Garifuna radio to get to the people. Not all folks are equipped with an educational background to understand what’s on radio or a brochure. Kindly ensure they cover all areas (not just ULP). You are the health minister of SVG and not ULP nor NDP.
    The following is a quote from the document:
    The nurses also play a vital role in advising patients on adherence and compliance, dietary requirements and generally keeping healthy. Each district nurse sets aside protected time to do counseling for patients with diabetes and hypertension. These sessions invariably involve not only patients, but also their significant others and care givers.
    The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment should backup their claims with data to show that they are doing what was so eloquently expressed above. Until that’s done I don’t think folks can be convinced you are doing piss-all.
    Here is another idea: Get to the youths, and school children before they reach the point where you have to spend money and time educating them on “living and eating well”. Talk to the minister of education about introducing some programs in the school’s curriculum. Get Ralph to bring back physical education to all schools. This is much cheaper and easier to implement than the programs mentioned in the document.

  3. patrickferrari says:

    I missed a friend of mine for a few days from his workplace. When he came back I joked if he was on holidays again, stressing the again. Equally casually he said, nah. He wasn’t feeling too well and he took a few days sick leave. The next week he was gone again but this time the boys told me that he was in hospital. A dark angel flew over me. The hospital? Not a place for unwell people.

    I visited him and he showed me a slightly swolen stomach and he said they didn’t know what was wrong as yet but said that the doctors promised to do some tests. This went on for about a week. He had medical insurance from his employers and he said that they had promised to fly him out.

    It turned out to be a Catch-22 – they could not fly him out until they could say what was wrong and they could not say what was wrong. As a consequence a young beautiful man of about 35 was dead within three weeks.

    He never knew what was wrong and we are burrying him at 2:30 p.m today.

    At about 13 days into his death-stop over, he told one of his close work buddies, “They are treating me like a dog.” I never knew if he meant the hospital, the employers or the insurance. I think he meant all in equal measure.

    May Earl rest in beautiful peace.

    I broke my hand once and went to the hospital. While sitting and waiting I sobered up (why you think I broke my hand) and it dawned on me; what the hell am I doing in this place! One break hand was enough. If they “fixed” it, it would be like a trial, they probably would have to break it again to have a second go at getting it right.

    Can anyone venture why la Comrade did not put Slater back in charge? And then why is he still a minister?

  4. FERRARI, that is a dreadful story, but I have heard dozens of similar storys. People going in and between neglect, mis-diagnosis, no drugs and the filth, they die, several people I knew died, and I am sure they wouldnt of, if they had gone to Barbados or Trinidad.

    My cousin broke an arm and had to have it re-broken in Barbados and reset. The ends of the bones did not touch each other, they laid side by side.

    If your ill in SVG and someone says you must go to hospital, just walk into the sea, it will be an easier end.

    Just a thought, where did Julian get the million US dollars cash in a bag?

    Is Julian still acting as Mr Fixit for Harlequin at Buccament?

    Why have the 60 land owners at Argyle still not been paid for their land, years after it was taken from them for the airport. Its state theft, pay up you scoundrel scum bags.

    How will the levels between the arrivals building aircraft parking apron and the runways be fixed? there is about a 10′ disrepency, can big aircraft drive up a ramp? can they cope with different levels?

  5. Pete, Why are you going off topic? We are talking about health care and you are bringing up several commess topics. You are becoming a distraction to any meaningful debate. Stick to one topic and try to get it fixed, or at least open it up for more meaningful dialog. Why not send you questions to the appropriate persons?
    Who the hell cares where Julian get $1million. The health of the nation is more important than Arnhim, Ralph, Julian and all the other jokers. I don’t see them getting together to fix the nation’s problems.
    It’s time we all try to be more positive with our comments, so Vincentians can benefit from our discussion.

  6. patrickferrari says:

    The unfortunate thing – for the hospital – is that with bone problems, you get to live to tell the story and show the evidence. I am assuming one rates living above dead, hence, unfortunate “for the hospital.” that the victim lives to show them up for what theyare. My friend did not have a bone problem so he’s not here to tell, or show, anything.

    Where did Ju Ju get the moolah from? Me nah no, but consider the silence and add it to this and see if it gives you any ideas: 4:32:26 AM]

    Is the Ju still Mr Fixit at Buccament? You must be in la-la land, lad. The Ju is self-appointed, is who go fire he? The Git? But you need $s to do the fixing required so Ju must be on retainer all now so.

    Didn’t the Git & Co pay 6 investors 500,000.00 quid. Six! EC$375,000.00 each (roughly)! Is how much left? How much moolah, that is. Plenty investors left.

    I don’t know nuthin about the land business at Argyle but I know there are grumblings (euphemism huge). I hope you are joking about “60” of them.

    I am hoping too, that you are joking about the 10′ ramp from runway to apron. You can’t be serious? Is the terminal building on the missing 30 acres?? Even so they coulda done level that off. They had/have the time. All they have to do it to extend the finish date. They are well-practised there.

    Now questions of my own: Does the government not think that there is an outside chance that we might get fed up, like fed to eff up? Did you read the Friday yacht protection problem in these pages? Wasn’t that “nipped in the bud” in 2011?

  7. Sorry to anyone who objects to my slipping other things in after my initial comments. I will keep doing so until we have the answers.

    When a million US dollars [EC$2.7 million] in cash is slopping about, and I am told it is a regular occurrence happens 4 times a year, that money could well go a long way to helping correct some of the problems that we have at the hospitals, or it could be used to pay some of the 60 farmers at Argyle who had there land taken from them several years ago for the airport. Instead it is shared out once a year between family and friends, the other three times going to the big boys and certain collaborators. I have no evidence of such but I actually believe it is coming from the account in Havana.

    We just cannot give up asking the questions every single day, in every possible way, in every possible publication. To say I don’t care is OK for you PVP, that’s you, but it is not good enough for us that do care. This matter goes right to the very root of the health of the country and the economy. Its more important than most of the rest of the crap that is written.

    The only cure will be to get rid of this Marxist regime that is working hard to bring everyone down to become a mass peasant class, which is the only way that Marxism works. Peasants are grateful for whatever they get that is more than they currently get or have. The majority of SVG in 2001 were middle class. Many have left and many are on the downward spiral to peasant class.
    The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting help, the middle class are getting stuffed.

    Under this government who have created no wealth except for themselves, our financial institutions are teetering on the very edge of bankruptsy. They have failed to create any industry, any new service industries or jobs, except in the public sector. We rely on scrounging from other nations, sometimes in return for our vote at the UN.

    They have destroyed agriculture, fishing, and almost all entrepreneurship.

    They have raped and wrecked our NIS, peoples pensions are in jeopardy.

    They have put us in debt for approaching one and a half billion dollars, never ever been so far in the crap under any government before.

    They have sold our family jewels and silver, selling our children’s future with the wholesale disposal of our lands to foreigners.

    Anyone of those persons that the PM has described as a ‘worthless dirty dog’ or even a real worthless dirty dog would be a better bet than this current regime of know all know nothing bunch of scum bags.

    They have imposed a wages freeze for the last 3 or more years without telling the people the truth.

    They have written worthless agreements that are unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. Fully well knowing so, and creating a deception on the people.

    And to top it all they bombard us with a continuous stream of lies and half truths.

    I have said it before, “if a dog barks a lot all the time would you call him a good dog? So why if a man talks a lot of lies all the time would you call him a good man?”

    I am against working with this regime in any way, its to late for that, it only helps compound their march towards a socialist Marxist state. We must all work together to rid ourselves of this vermin.

    We should do all we can to pull them down and remove them to the dung heap where they belong.

  8. Hi Peter, I am glad you are looking for answers, but you probably won’t find it on this media. I am sure you are far more familiar with the health problem facing Vincentians than the $million dollars mentioned in your article. So why care about something you don’t have data to prove is accurate? I am trying to get you to stick to the things you know, especially those that can generate debate and ideas that can be implemented. You are an excellent writer when you handle articles with facts and figures. Did you notice that VINCYPOA has recently stopped replying to your articles. I believe the reason is, he has heard it all before ( Ralph is a DIS and Ralph is a DAT). Think of how many more people are ignoring your articles , missing your very good and new points, because they keep reading the same thing again and again.
    Like I said, you are an excellent writer who covers many pertinent facts about life in SVG. That I enjoy. But the commess parts, of some of your articles, turn me off. I am sure you want readers to believe in the issues you cover. I believe we are all in this to help SVG and Vincentians, no matter which party in is power. This has nothing to do with you, me, Arnhim or Ralph. It has more to do with our island, the place we call home.

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