Officials to measure Cayman’s chronic disease risk

| 31/03/2011

(CNS): A new committee has been formed to spearhead a national risk factor survey which government says will allow health officials to tackle chronic risks. As part of what it said were ongoing efforts to curb chronic disease, the Ministry of Health said the survey will allow health professionals to identify and measure the specific issues that are contributing to the rapid local rise in chronic disease, such as physical inactivity, smoking, poor nutrition and alcohol abuse. The health minister pointed out that in order to address the these diseases which he warned will have a serious long term impact on the economy health officials needed more accurate statistics and information.

"It is predicted that by 2020 – a mere decade from now – heart disease, cancers and diabetes will account for sixty percent of illnesses. Already some six percent of our population has diabetes and twelvepercent of residents have been diagnosed with high blood pressure,” said Mark Scotland. “Further, with more than 37 percent of our teenagers classified as being overweight or obese, as a country we undoubtedly face serious health threats. If we fail to reverse such trends, our national health systems will be severely stressed and there will be significant negative economic and social consequences."

He said that one of the first steps in the fight is accessing reliable statistics instead of relying on anecdotal evidence. “With the information gained from sound baseline studies, our health partners can use their limited resources for targeted interventions,” Scotland explained.

The Non-communicable Disease Risk Survey Committee was formed from a cross-section of agencies and includes experts on public health, epidemiology, survey and statistics and clinical issues. The committee will follow the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)’s Stepwise Approach to Chronic Non-communicable Disease Risk-Factor Surveillance (STEPS) to establish a framework for Cayman’s own survey model.

“Up-to-date information is vital when it comes to preventing and treating disease. As such, the committee’s main objective is to oversee practical and logistical issues relating to the implementation of a local STEPS protocol,” explained Committee Chairperson and Health Services Authority General Practice Coordinator Dr. Anna Matthews.

Other core roles include acting as an advocacy body for chronic disease surveillance, establishing cross-agency partnerships to increase capacity for ongoing chronic disease risk factors surveillance, and assisting in translating the data into policy and programmes.


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  1. Anony-nony says:

    It is very good that they are doing this.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope some of leading political figures are going to participate. LOL 🙂

    • Rorschach says:

      They are going to be attending worldwide locations to study the effects and attempt to attract investors….