This country has one of the highest amputation rates due to diabetes complications and to reduce this, people need to adjust their tastes and lifestyles, substituting floury, oily and sugary meals for more healthy food and should also get moving
The information and advice came from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh in Parliament yesterday.
He was responding to queries from Opposition MP Dr Rai Ragbir on whether or not there is a new Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, as the 2017-2021 plan recently expired.
Deyalsingh, who detailed the Government’s approach to the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), added, “A new NCD Strategic Plan for 2023 and beyond is currently in the formative stages.”
Apart from filling the position of an NCD director, Deyalsingh said the NCD Strategic Plan is continuously being implemented with updates.
“And several additional initiatives are currently being planned for roll-out including the conduct of the second Risk Factor Survey for T&T, the completion of the NCD clinical guidelines for diabetes and hypertension; and the development of the National NCD Registries for diabetes, hypertension and cardiac care.”
He said the development of education programmes is ongoing. All hospitals are also outfitted with the “T&T Moves” slogan: eat more fruit and vegetables, move more, drink more water.
“These three simple things ... if we start to substitute water for sugar-based beverages, substitute more fruits and vegetables for food that are calorie-rich but nutrient-poor - like sugar, flour, transfats, fries— if we do this and everything in some moderation, we can significantly reduce NCDs in T&T,” he said.
Among measures since 2017, Deyalsingh noted last month’s consultation and upscaling of the NCD Diabetes Foot Prevention and Management of Infection Initiative.
Out of that programme, Deyalsingh said, “We’ve come up with a strategic plan to reduce the rate of amputations by about 20 per cent by 2023 because we have one of the highest rates of amputations due to complications of diabetes when people don’t take care of their feet.”
While Government’s moving proactively, he added, “We need buy-in from the public to adjust their tastes and lifestyles and do things in moderation. We’re not asking people to diet, we’re asking people to substitute some of these floury, oily, sugar-sweetened products for healthy options and just get moving.”
Deyalsingh also said there was no chronic shortage of pharmaceuticals in the country. He also confirmed the procurement of PAXLOVID and MOLNUPIRAVIR (Merck) to treat COVID-19 patients is being pursued directly from the respective manufacturers and through a Caricom arrangement. Both options are still in the negotiation stage.