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Assessing Health Risks

Now that the Ministry of Health's Non-communicable Disease Risk Factor Survey Coordinating Committee has completed a two-day planning session, Cayman has stepped closer to its first national health risk factor survey.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation, the aim was to come up with a plan for Cayman to collect its own baseline data on health issues.

"The meeting was an exciting step forward in getting the baseline health information necessary for future planning. Relevant, current and localized statistics are key ingredients in successful national prevention and treatment programmes, and this committee is about closing the information gap for us," said Health Minister the Hon. Mark Scotland.

He added that investing time and resources into the committee's work is not optional: "Firstly, the work enables us to focus our resources for targeted interventions. Secondly, if we do nothing, heart disease, cancers and diabetes - will spiral out of control."

Only ten years ago, CARICOM estimated that diabetes alone cost Latin America and the Caribbean a staggering US$65 billion. However, those costs are now set to dramatically grow: World Health Organisation predictions suggest that by 2020, metabolic diseases will account for sixty percent of illnesses.

"As for Cayman, already some six percent of our population suffers from diabetes and twelve percent have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. These are serious figures and we simply must address these issues as a matter of urgency," Minister Scotland concluded.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver