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Public Encouraged to Participate in STEPS Survey

THE Department of Health and Wellness is appealing to the general public to participate in the ongoing World Health Organisation (WHO) STEPS Survey. The objective of the survey is to assist healthcare professionals to estimate and monitor the risk factors of non-communicable diseases in Saint Lucia.

Shana Cyr-Philbert, Senior Medical officer of Chronic Diseases in the Department of Health and Wellness said that the STEPS survey is specifically related to chronic diseases and noted that 82% of annual deaths in Saint Lucia were attributable to chronic diseases. At a press conference held last Monday, Cyr-Philbert remarked, “This survey is especially important because we need to see why our population is dying from these chronic diseases.”

The Department of Health and Wellness embarked upon the survey in December of last year, which was expected to be completed by the end of February 2020. The Senior Medical officer also announced on Monday that the survey will be conducted beyond February toward the end of March as the required number of participants could not be reached within the remaining time-frame. She said that 4000 persons were required to participate for the STEPS survey to be valuable. So far, she said that only 728 surveys had been completed.

According to Cyr-Philbert, 30 Enumerators had been trained and were presently working along with nurses for the execution of the survey. The first step of the survey consists of a questionnaire pertaining to the participant’s age, eating habits, alcohol consumption level, whether they smoke and whether they suffer from any diseases. The Body Mass Index (BMI) of the participant will be examined in the second step of the survey along with a blood pressure check.

Cyr-Philbert went on, “The third step has to do with the biochemistry, we actually examine the blood for the respondents, we do total cholesterol levels, we do triglycerides, blood sugars, and we actually test urine to check kidney function and the salt content in the urine which will allow us to know how much salt persons are actually consuming.”

At the same press conference, Alma Dolor, Principal Nursing Officer for the Ministry of Health, said that Enumerators and Nurses will be visiting the homes of random persons from various communities to conduct the survey. “We are taking people at random, and we are really asking the public, if you are selected, to participate because the numbers are vital. We need the number of persons that are required for the survey to be valuable,” she said.

Dolor further sated, “So what we are saying is that, as you see those persons coming to your house Saint Lucia, we really need your participation because if you do not respond and we do not get the numbers we are looking for, you can imagine all our efforts and contributions are going to go to waste.”

She stressed on the importance of completing the survey as the results were necessary for guiding the Ministry of Health in policy making. The survey is also expected to estimate the burden of non-communicable diseases in Saint Lucia and will serve as a sample representation of the entire population. The results of the survey will further help the Ministry in maximising its resources as they relate to programme implementation, by pinpointing the risk factors that need the most attention.

Allen is a reporter employed at The Voice Publishing Company. He has had a passion for reading, writing, story telling and theater for as long as he can remember. His interest in history, philosophy and the human condition, have inspired him to think deeply about life which has in turn given him many things to write about. He enjoys writing articles which educate, inspire, and enlighten the reader; and articles which provoke the reader to look at things from a fresh and different perspective.Read full bio...

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