BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, September 17, 2019 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — Even though the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is fortunate to offer two types of dialysis, the Ministry of Health wishes that people lead healthy lifestyles to avoid the resultant high cost of treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Minister of State for Health, Senator the Hon Wendy Phipps, made the observation on Saturday September 14 at the end of a wellness walk organised by the Ministry of Health and SKN Moves in collaboration with the 2019 Independence Committee in celebration of Caribbean Wellness Day, observed under the theme ‘Healthy Aging Starts Now’.
“Caribbean Wellness Day is a Caribbean-wide sensitisation and health promotion programme, that is meant to build on what the CARICOM heads of government would have already determined going back to 2007 when the Port of Spain Declaration would have been approved,” said Hon Phipps.
According to the minister, member states would have acknowledged officially for the first time that the threat to the lives and wellbeing of Caribbean people brought about by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) warranted enough attention and that there was a need to reverse that dynamic.
The need to reverse the dynamic, “was because it would affect us not just in terms of health and wellness from a social point of you, but also in terms of an economic impact because if the healthiest part of your workforce now becomes ill, from an NCD or has to care for an individual suffering from an NCD, the falloff in terms of national productivity, brought about by absenteeism from work etc. and the social-economic impact as it relates to the cost of health maintenance once a person has been diagnosed with an NCD because NCDs for example cancer or kidney disease are not cheap to handle.”
The minister pointed out that St. Kitts and Nevis is fortunate as it offers two types of dialysis – haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. She however advised that whereas peritoneal might cost maybe about $600-800 a week for three sessions, a single session of haemodialysis in St. Kitts is over $800 which means that three times a week, 52 weeks in a year, the amount might go to as high as $125,000 a year just on haemodialysis.
“So a walk of this nature today helps to spread the message all over again that we need to look after ourselves,” said the Minister of Health. “We need to seek regular medical check-ups, eat right, incorporate more fruits and vegetables in the diet, and make physical activity – any type of physical activity that raises your heart rate – as it helps to get your blood going and help to basically make you more nimble and flexible as an individual, which would help.’
Congratulating organisers of the SKN Moves programme, which is within the Ministry of Health, and whose St. Kitts and Nevis chapter was launched on Friday August 9 she said the wellness walk which was held the following day Saturday August 10 taking participants from Caribbean Cinemas in Buckley’s, to the Frigate Bay lawn, was meant to build on any other programme that the Ministry of Health will have at the national level geared towards the same objectives.
Saying that Caribbean Wellness Day ties in nicely into SKN Moves, the Hon Phipps reminded the general public that in the month of October the country will celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness where a walk will be held, giving an opportunity to showcase healthy lifestyles, the impact of NCDs, and what is needed to do to reverse it, and help to prevent it, while the month of November will see the activities of St. Kitts Diabetes Association which will be yet another opportunity to focus on diabetes which is an NCD, and also focus on physical fitness and wellness.