We take this opportunity to remind Saint Lucians not to indulge too much in a lifestyle that could lead them into getting diseases such as diabetes and whatever else an unhealthy lifestyle could give. This reminder is based on what we have seen to date, since the lifting of the state of emergency and the steady rise in the number of cases being reported each day, over the past month.
Granted, the cases may be considered low, 38 when this editorial was written, but just days ago the number of cases were in the single digit column.
This tells us that cases are rising. But more importantly, the unwritten and unspoken message is that the coronavirus is not going away anytime soon, and most likely will be with us for a considerable length of time, a fact many Saint Lucians, it appears, have not yet grasped.
There appears to be an acceptance amongst the populace that the virus is not deadly anymore and that the country is out of its deadly clutches. This summation is based on the number of social gatherings throughout the country Saint Lucians are engaged in of late, without any adherence to the COVID-19 protocols, portraying a lifestyle they have been warned against adopting, as it could lead to health problems, such as diabetes.
According to the World Health Organisation (2018) the third leading cause of death in Saint Lucia is diabetes. Further, we are still not where we should have been, knowledge wise, in respect of the disease. Sadly, a diabetes research center which was promised to Saint Lucia in May, 2016 by the then Saint Lucia Labour Party government never became a reality.
Saint Lucians were told that the Ministry of Health, which back then was headed by Alvina Reynolds, had partnered with a Switzerland based private company founded by Dr. Walid Juffali to launch a diabetes project to create a new regional standard for diagnosing, treating and pioneering research in the disease.
The good news coming out of that partnership was that a National Diabetes Coordinating Centre would be established in Saint Lucia. Reynolds made this even better by stating that the Centre would be established within 12 months and would be accompanied by a nationwide diabetes screening programme, and a world-class training programme to create a local team of established diabetes nurses who will be on par with diabetes care specialists anywhere in the Caribbean.
Reynolds also promised that coming out of that Centre will be the establishment of a national registry of people with diabetes that will enhance clinical care and research in Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean.
Exactly one month later Saint Lucians went to the polls and threw out the Labour Party. The project would appear to have had little of substance and, in retrospect, in fact it turned out to be mere political posturing for political gain.
Whatever the case, if such a Centre was genuinely being planned, it would have played a significant role in the fight against diabetes in Saint Lucia which is desperately needed today.
We implore Saint Lucians to adopt a healthy lifestyle since diabetes, and we are talking here about the most common type which is type 2, is a lifestyle disease. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, the risks and symptoms associated with the disease can be reduced.
Further, with the more dominant COVID-19 variant known as BA.2 now circulating in Saint Lucia, there is this added need for Saint Lucians to be careful and reduce the number of social engagements they indulge in as the disease is still considered deadly.