_UHC Training for Diabetes Pilot Project  
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Over 70 health professionals attended a Training of Trainers Workshop on Saturday, 8th April, 2006 at the Conference Room of the NIC Building, in preparation of the UHC Diabetes Pilot Project.

A new protocol for the treatment of Diabetes was introduced to the participants and will become the standard procedure at all medical facilities in St Lucia. "The procedure we will use will be administered in a quality assurance manner," stated Dr Stephen King, Chief Medical Officer and a member of the UHC Taskforce. "The wonderful thing about the protocol is that everyone will be speaking the same language, and will be on the same page; we are all starting at the same place and will be working towards the same goal", Dr King emphasised.

Health teams from every health region (St Lucia has eight health regions), and every medical facility on the island will receive training in the new protocol and these teams will return to their communities and institutions to train their team members in the protocol, which was developed in collaboration with the Caribbean Health Research Council and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The overall purpose of the Diabetes Pilot Project which is scheduled to start in May 2006 and continue for a period of nine months will provide free screening and treatment for all St Lucians with Diabetes. The Government of St Lucia recently approved the funding for the Pilot Project which is expected to cost approximately EC$3.1 million. According to local health officials, the earlier a patient is diagnosed and treated for diabetes and hypertension, the better it is to manage and prevent further medical complications.

The Diabetes Pilot Project aims to successfully treat 70% of the population. At present, barely 20% of the population of persons with diabetes and hypertension receive the treatment they need and most do not get treatment early enough.

Diabetes is one of the main causes of mortality and morbidity and is the leading cause of deaths in St Lucia. Hypertension is the fourth leading cause of deaths. It is estimated that there are 8,000 persons with diabetes in St Lucia and 20,000 persons with hypertension.

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