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Diabetes & Hypertension among Top Ten Causes of Death

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Contact: Primus Hutchinson

Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - The level of hypertension in St Lucia is rapidly becoming a serious health concern. So says the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Human Services and Family Affairs, Fedelis William.

Mr. William made that statement at a one day health conference held at the National Insurance Corporation, Monday. According to Williams, women consistently account for 60% of reported deaths from diabetes in St. Lucia. He indicated that whereas the Ministry does not have a comprehensive analysis of the morbidity situation, the mortality figures as they now exist, provide an assessment of the magnitude of that health problem.

Mr. William noted that the figures of the Epidemiology Centre of the Ministry of Health, reveal that diabetes and hypertension have been among the top ten leading causes of death in St. Lucia, over the last ten years. The Epidemiology Centre report states, that in 1999 and 2000, diabetes ranked fourth among the ten principle causes of death in St. Lucia.

Mr. William indicated that health centres’ reports reveal, that in the case of hypertension, there were as high as 140 new cases in 1999 in the community of Gros Islet, while the figures for diabetes was 16 new cases for Castries.

“I have taken the liberty to draw this partial epidemiological profile to your attention so that you can put into perspective the gravity of the problem,” William said.

Meanwhile, a leading member of the medical fraternity in Saint Lucia has appealed to the general public to apprise themselves of the “National Mortality Report for 2002”. Dr. Didier, who was part of the team of health officials at the conference, told participants, that the report would be extremely helpful not only to those affected with diabetes but also those at risk.

Diabetes is the main culprit, if not a strong contributor to other diseases such as strokes, heart diseases and prostate problems.

The one day health conference, was an initiative of the Saint Lucia Diabetic and Hypertensive Association in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Mission of Seventh Day Adventists.

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