Take health seriously
Prime Minister of St Kitts Dr Denzil Douglas says almost half of the population of St. Kitts and Nevis are obese and urged citizens to get involved in physical exercises.
“The first thing we have to do is get up and move. We all know the old physical fitness rule: Never lie down if you can sit; never sit if you can stand; never stand if you can walk; and never walk if you can run. First thing, again, then, is move,” said Dr. Douglas, who is also a medical practitioner.
Speaking on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister”, Dr. Douglas said that 45 per cent, almost half, of the people in the twin island Federation are obese.
“Men, women, make those annual check-ups a priority. People today get very nervous about their cell-phones breaking, but they can be very laid back and indifferent, really, about what is happening with their bodies.
“It is wrong, wrong, wrong to go to the doctor only when we are sick. Once a year, pick any date you wish, as long as you stick to it, and, come rain or shine, head to your doctor’s offices for that all-important annual check-up,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He urged women to do their pap smears, which the government has made available at every single health clinic on this island, free of charge.
“March in and get them, I urge you. You can save yourselves a world of pain, trauma, financial distress, and family upheaval by ensuring, first, that you do not have cancer or, failing that, if there is a problem, you catch it early.
“Women, your cancer rate is three times the rate of men. Time to become more protective of yourself. Time to become more vigilant. Time to believe and know that early detection really does matter – and to act accordingly,” said Dr. Douglas.
He also urged men to check for prostate checked once a year.
“Between 2002 and 2005, nine men died of prostate cancer in the Federation. Between 2006 and 2009, 15 died. We have to stop this rise. And the men of this Federation are going to be key where this battle is concerned,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“Everybody knows that there are aspects to the examination you will not like, but however strange you may find the examination, no physical examination can begin to compare with the pain, confusion, and trauma of serious illness. If it is of any comfort, just remind yourself that all men get this procedure done – not only you.
“And even your doctor, if your doctor is male, undergoes the very same procedure, conducted by someone else. So forget about being macho. Forget about what you do or do not like. Stand up. Step forward. Protect yourself. Prolong your life. Avoid pain and suffering the smart way.”
He said no matter what is happening in the broader world, the twin island Federation cannot accept rising cancer rates as normal.
“They have been rising here for sure, but we must work together to bend the curve – through new attitudes, new lifestyles, new technologies,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
With breast cancer the leading cause of cancer in women in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Government is taking a targeted response where that is concerned.
He said the Ministry of Health has been organising sessions to teach women how to examine their breasts properly and urged women to master this technique, and to perform it regularly because prevention is, indeed, far better than cure.
“In addition to women taking responsibility for knowing and examining their own bodies however, we also want to ensure that we have the technological infrastructure in place to help us spot breast cancer early and intervene quickly where necessary.” (CMC)