Ministry of Health Hosts National Consultation on Caribbean Diabetic Retinopathy programme

downloadThere are near 7,000 diabetics in Dominica. This is according to a 2008 survey carried out by the Epidemiology department and the Princess Margaret Hospital.

The report states that 17.7 percent of our population between the ages of 16 to 65 have elevated blood sugar over 126 milligrams per decimeter, qualifying them to be diabetics or having some form of glucose intolerance.

It is for this reason, that the Caribbean Council for the Blind working in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation, Orbis International and Sightsavers, submitted a Concept Paper for a Caribbean Diabetic Retinopathy Programme for the consideration of the Trust.

The Concept Paper was favourably received and collaborating partners were invited to submit a full proposal for further consideration.

During a consultation on Wednesday May 28th, Ophthalmologist, Dr. Hazel Shillingford Ricketts told the gathering that this is the first time a programme of this kind has been formed in the Caribbean with an aim to eliminate preventable blindness.

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Ophthalmologist, Dr. Hazel Shillingford Ricketts

Diabetes is currently the leading cause of blindness in the Caribbean among the working population.  The good news she said is that it can be treated in about 90 percent of diabetics.

Dr. Ricketts added that due to an increase in the obesity rate a number of young persons have developed a level of diabetes often detected in older persons.

Meanwhile, Carl Browne, Public Health Professional says the Trust has identified six countries to pilot the proposal which must be cost effective and sustainable.

A plan has to be developed called the Dominica Diabetic and Retinopathy Proposal along with proposals from the other five countries.

The Trust will then review the proposals and integrate them with some regional elements. It is crucial that each country defines very carefully what the service is going to build on, he stressed.

© 2012 SAT Telecommunications Ltd.

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