EDITORIAL: All hands needed in diabetes fight
Diabetes continues to be bad news for too many of our people, despite the efforts of the authorities and the health professionals to advise and caution Barbadians of the many dangers attendant upon inappropriate lifestyles in which there is insufficient exercise and too much use of the wrong types of food.
But the dreaded disease can be contained or controlled, and the founding of the Barbados Diabetes Centre at Warrens promises to be yet another bulwark in the fight against this dreaded monster.
The specialist centre has been specially designed to bring together under one roof all the skills necessary to provide an holistic service to the patients suffering from the disease.
It is particularly pleasing that this venture is a joint project between the Government and two private sector organizations that have joined together to provide a facility that will enable a serious challenge to be mounted to counter the rising numbers afflicted by this disease.
It is, of course, well known that diabetes is a non-communicable lifestyle disease, but we anticipate that much research is still needed to fully understand the nature of this insidious affliction and that a facility where those involved in the effort to treat patients can be housed under a single roof is bound to provide a fillip to enhanced treatment.
The centre is anticipated to be completed in a year from groundbreaking, but we urge those involved in research and in counselling about proper lifestyle practices and treatment of the disease to maintain full speed ahead in their endeavours.
It is distressing to hear that more and more of our children are coming down with Type 2 diabetes. Dr Oscar Jordan, the chairman of the Diabetes Foundation and a champion in the fight, has cautioned that we must be careful about how we are feeding our children, since they are eating too much sugar, too many fats and more salt and exercising less.
The cost of treating diabetes is also a major drag on the economy, and now amounts to some $75 million annually. This fact alone should energize all of us to put our hands to the plough and help to arrest this increasingly serious economic and social problem.
We must not allow higher standards of living and more comfortable circumstances to blind us to the harsh reality that the loss of human capital and the resulting decrease in productivity is a loss that this small and developing economy cannot afford.
All Barbadians should therefore welcome the construction of this facility and support this effort to develop an inclusive strategy to fight this problem.
At the same time, all Barbadians owe it to themselves and their families to practise, as far as possible, such healthy lifestyles as will prevent or delay the onset of this disease. It is not only a matter of importance to the national economy, but it also relates to our own health and that of our children.
In congratulating the Government and the private sector organizations involved, we urge widespread and active support for this very worthwhile venture.
Given the destructive profile of this disease, it must be a question of all hands on deck!