Point-of-care testing for diabetes to be introduced


Point-of-care testing for diabetes to be introduced

Sunday, November 08, 2020

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MINISTER of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has informed that the ministry will be working on increasing access to testing for diabetes through the introduction of point-of-care testing.

“This methodology of testing is the gold standard for monitoring and controlling diabetes,” the minister said.

He was speaking at a virtual panel discussion on Friday to kick-start Diabetes Awareness Month, where he outlined several initiatives being pursued by the ministry.

“The ministry will be championing the cause of persons with diabetes. We have updated our clinical management guidelines, which are now available on our website,” Dr Tufton said.

He noted, too, that the National Health Fund (NHF) will continue to provide support through the provision of diabetic medication and supplies, and encouraged individuals with diabetes to enrol in the NHF card programme to access this benefit.

“We encourage stakeholders — persons living with diabetes, their families and friends and others involved in their care management — to join our nurses in the effort to ensure the best possible health outcome for persons with diabetes and to, as far as possible, engage in behaviours to reduce the incidence of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” Dr Tufton said.

He emphasised that lifestyle is critical to managing the risk of diabetes, and recommended increased physical activity, a healthy diet, routine health checks, and strict adherence to medication.

The minister thanked all the partners for working with the ministry to raise awareness regarding early screening and control of diabetes in the country.

Dr Tufton said awareness during the month of November will be raised through various planned activities, including community interventions in Troja district in St Catherine and Pembroke Hall, St Andrew; training of health care workers in the clinical management of diabetes; launching the public/private partnership for NCD care for diabetes and hypertension; as well as sharing health education messages through traditional and social media.

He said the 2016/17 Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey revealed that one in eight Jamaicans, aged 15 years and older, has diabetes, yet four out of every 10 individuals with the disease are unaware that they have it.

Dr Tufton noted, too, that some 92.5 per cent of Jamaicans 15 years and older with the disease are on treatment, but only 27.5 per cent are controlled.

“As we turn the spotlight on diabetes this November, we must acknowledge the scale of the problem of non-communicable diseases facing us and redouble our efforts to solve it, drawing on all our resources, including our nurses, who are essential not only as health care providers but also as professionals on whom we can rely for the promotion of self-care management among patients with diabetes,” the minister said.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that approximately 422 million people have diabetes, with the majority being from low and middle-income countries, while 1.6 million deaths are attributed to the disease.

The panel discussion focused on the holistic management of diabetes from physical through to psychological care. It aimed to assist individuals living with diabetes and their caregivers to improve and maintain good health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Diabetes Day will be observed on November 14. This year, the campaign focuses on promoting the role of nurses in supporting and caring for people living with diabetes.


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