BVIHSA community outreach team hopes to prevent rise in diabetes cases
The Community Health Department of the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) is on a mission to capture as many undiagnosed cases of diabetes in the Territory as possible.
The team said that the cost factors associated with this life-altering disease and physical damages patients sustain, is the main motivator of this worthwhile effort that will take teams of BVIHSA specialists across the Territory this month.
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent non-communicable disease in the Territory. A number of persons are currently on dialysis as a result of this disease, and it is estimated that more persons will require dialysis treatment. As the main medical establishment in the Territory, the BVIHSA is on a mission to reverse this trend. In this light, the Community Health Department has launched a month-long community outreach initiative aimed at educating and informing about the risks factors.
This Diabetes Awareness initiative saw the Community Health Team partnering with organizations such as Smile Dental Spa, Therapy Works, Nature’s Way, BVI Red Cross, and the BVI Diabetes Associations in honor of World Diabetes Day (14th November). However, this BVIHSA campaign runs to the end of November. The campaign is driven by the desire to save lives and stem the rise of diabetes in the BVI.
Speaking on this massive outreach initiative Dr. Shanakay Fraser, on behalf of the Joint Endocrinology/Primary Care services team explained that one in two persons have diabetes and do not know it. Noting this critical fact that may result in amputation and loss of vision, Dr. Fraser said that the team has charted a calendar of events aimed at interacting with communities across the BVI. This effort is focused on early intervention through screening, diabetes management and prevention.
While emphasizing that this is a public/private approach Dr. Fraser noted that the collaboration is helpful in not only educating the public but getting into contact with persons who are at risk. “Usually we would wait for clients to show up for care…but now we seek to engage the community through outreach programmes. We are coordinating with other allied health groups and service organizations to promote a holistic care option for persons affected by diabetes.”
One of the most recent activities which is part of this outreach initiative was the Diabetes Symposium held at the Upper Room Victory Church on 10th November. This well-attended event targeted communities that are located on the eastern end of Tortola. The audience was very interested in the presentations that particularly dealt with the risk factors associated with diabetes and its correlation with nutrition.
Other upcoming events include: Endocrine Clinic Audit Presentation – Dr. D. Orlando Smith Hospital Lobby – 16th November, Health Talk – Church of God Holiness – 17th November, Outreach Symposium – Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church – 24th November, Foot Clinic – Capoons Bay Clinic – 24th November, Mobile Screening Clinic, Bregada Flax Educational Center – 25th November, Mobile Screen Clinic – Anegada – 29th November and Mobile Screening Clinic – ROMPS North Sound VG.
World Diabetes Day 2021 is being celebrated under the theme “Access to Diabetes Care: If Not Now, When?”