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CHEF gears up towards determining prevalence of chronic kidney disease in SVG

CHEF gears up towards determining prevalence of chronic kidney disease in SVG

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How prevalent is chronic kidney disease in St Vincent and the Grenadines?

Medical officials will be one step closer to answering this question by the end of this week, following a rapid screening programme for hundreds of Vincentians over the age of 18.{{more}}

This programme is being carried out by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Caribbean Health and Education Foundation (CHEF) and is geared towards determining the prevalence of chronic kidney disease in this country by assessing the related risk factors.

During the opening ceremony at the Girls’ High School yesterday, nephrologist Dr Twanna Browne-Caesar explained that the initiative was launched earlier this year, following her attendance at the annual Caribbean Institute of Nephrology conference, where statistics from a similar study in St Kitts/Nevis were presented.

Browne-Caesar pointed out that little is known about the medical burden of kidney disease in this country and as a result, it poses a problem in the implementation of health policies and effective health planning.

“With the introduction of nephrology services in St Vincent and the Grenadines, it is imperative that we closely look at our population at risk,” she said.

“In St Vincent and the Grenadines, over the last 15 years, there has been increasing contribution of chronic disease to the health care burden and mortality. The exact figures are not known and this will be useful in our elucidation of the problem. In the Caribbean, late detection of kidney disease is extremely costly to maintain. The collection of this data at a local and regional level will help in the implementation of policy.”

According to the kidney specialist, the screening that will take place over the next few days will include checks for diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension, which is a risk factor for a number of vascular diseases like kidney disease and heart disease.

“The information that we will become privy to at the completion of the project, including the common risk factors of some of the problems causing kidney disease and the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, will be useful information in planning our approach for the future. We look forward to this venture and I wish this programme ultimate success,” Browne-Caesar said.

In his remarks, president of CHEF Odell Bussue utilized figures from the 2014 Monitoring and Evaluating Health Sector Report to highlight hypertension, diabetes malitus and cardiovascular disease as the leading causes of hospitalization in St Vincent and the Grenadines for the year 2013.

“We want to promote healthy lifestyles. We believe in that. Diabetes and hypertension are the two main causes of chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease worldwide. The Caribbean Renal Registry also indicates that diabetes and hypertension are the leading causes of chronic kidney disease and in particular, in the Caribbean,” Bussue told the persons waiting to be a part of the screening programme.

“Not much is known about chronic kidney disease in the Caribbean so Caribbean Health and Education Foundation proposes to conduct screening for chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension, such that prevalence of chronic kidney disease and major chronic kidney risk factors can be ascertained and tracked longitudinally.”

The CHEF president noted that not only will the screening programme serve as a basis for determining the prevalence of chronic kidney disease in this country, but he stressed that many benefits can be gained by the country and persons who take part in the screening.

According to Bussue, the programme will contribute to slowing down the rapid increase of renal disease in the Caribbean and there will be a decrease in health care costs if persons with the disease are identified in the early stages. He added that health sector will also benefit if ministers are able to plan and implement policies, as well as be able to ascertain an adequate workforce needed to take care of kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

The screening process began yesterday and will continue today at the Girls’ High School. On Wednes­day, August 5 and Thursday, August 6, the programme will move to the Golden Age Centre in Byera (Black Point) to accommodate persons on the Windward side of the island.

This programme is also being carried out in conjunction with various registered medical schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Division of Nursing Education from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. (BK)

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