In recent times, there have been over 2,000 amputations that have resulted from diabetes and medical officials are worried that new cases are added each month, with almost two dozen each year.
Diabetes is also one of the leading causes of deaths in St. Kitts and Nevis.
It was partly due to this increasing ‘health scare’ that a group of concerned individuals last year established the St. Kitts Diabetic Association to help sensitize the country about the chronic disease. One of the pledges they had made when forming the body in December, 2013, was to undertake a public campaign to spark new attention on the issue.
Therefore as part of their outreach activity, a free public clinic was hosted on Saturday 26th July, 2014, on the Bay Road, geared towards increasing the awareness about Diabetes amongst our population. They also facilitated blood testing on the spot.
During the clinic, members of the Diabetic Association of St. Kitts, along with a number of volunteers of the Red Cross Society as well as some District Nurses were on hand to assist with the process.
These included the President of the association, Nurse Christene Wattley, the Secretary-Ms Janelle Lewis, Executive member-Rev Wilfred Daniel as well as the PRO-Dr. Reginald O’ Loughlin, who last year had described the state of the diabetes problem as “alarming”.
The association says several dozen individuals showed up at Saturday’s event, between 7:00 am – 9:00 am, to have their blood sugar levels checked and to be informed about important issues surrounding Diabetes.
They are hoping that the activity will be repeated on a regular basis in order to maintain a high level of awareness among members of the population, with regards to the serious consequences of this very controllable ailment.
The message they hope to share with residents is that diabetes can be controlled, if steps are taken to reduce the risks. But they caution that the consequences are far-reaching if left unattended.
Residents are being urged to change their lifestyles to ensure that exercise is part of their routine, and that better dietary habits are practiced. Persons who have had family members with the disease should also pay careful attention because they caution that diabetes could be shared genetically.
The very first step they urge is that you get tested.