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Diabetes, hypertension, cancer costing TT $8.7 billion annually

DARCEL CHOY Monday, March 20 2017

Diabetes, hypertension and cancer are economic burdens on the country as it costs an estimated $8.7 billion annually which represents about 4.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Dr Rohit Doon disclosed this while addressing a training seminar for medical practictioners on the National Strategy for Gestational Diabetes Screening: Health in pregnancy TT at Trinidad Hilton, St Ann’s. Doon said that estimate was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“A large proportion of this burden is due to diabetes, $3.5 billion and hypertension $3.2 billion and cancer about $2 billion.

More than half of the total burden is due to productivity losses related to diabetes, hypertension and cancer mortality and morbidity.” He said diabetes and hypertension prevention intervention can reap huge benefits as a 50 percent reduction through sustained prevention interventions can result in estimated savings of $2 billion annually. “Therefore the ministry has completed and attained Cabinet approval for a five-year national strategic plan for prevention and control of NCDs (Noncommunicable Diseases). First strategic objective is multi sectoral policies and partnership for prevention and control so here we wish to build and promote multi sectoral action with relevant sectors of the government and society including integration into development and economic agendas.

“NCDs risk factors and protective factors, we wish to prevent prevalence of NCDs risk factors and strengthen protective factors with emphasis on children and adolescents. And vulnerable population using evidence based held promotions strategies policy instruments including regulation monitoring and voluntary measures to address the social and economic environmental determinants of health.” Doon said the coverage of the health system’s response to the NCDs and the risk factors need to be improved to create equitable and universal access to quality care with emphasis on primary health care and strengthened self care. He also said that the capacity for research needs to be strengthened.

“These strategies therefore reflect an appreciation of the fact that there is an link between society and the public’s health that fundamentally influences each other. Health is therefore an input for and a benefit of development.

Consequently public health can be defined as the essence and art of promotion health, controlling and preventing disease, prolonging life through the organised efforts of society,” he said.



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