A three-day diabetes management workshop opened yesterday at the Medical Benefits Scheme on Nevis Street.
The Training Workshop, themed “Take Charge Of Your Diabetes”, is funded by the Ministry of Health, and facilitated by a five-member team of experts from the University of Florida.
One of them, food and nutrition specialist Nancy Gal, said their aim was to bring research-based information out to the community. She promised that the workshop would provide information to help implement the programme here, including samples of what may be useful in dealing with local patients.
Workshop participants include staff of the Medical Benefits Scheme, along with personnel from the ministry of health and the Mount St John’s Medical Centre.
The MBS’s medical officer, Dr Leslie Walwyn, said diabetes is costing the institution well over a million dollars a year, just to fund the cost of medication to lower blood sugar, but not counting the expenses associated with complications.
“We are going to introduce this programme for patients who, once diagnosed or once discharged from hospital with a complication of diabetes, they enter into this 10-week programme and we teach them all of these life-enhancing and disease management skills,” she said.
Dr Walwyn said while MBS and the health ministry aim for reduction of the expenses associated with treating diabetes and its complications, the desired outcomes for the workshop extend beyond such cost concerns.
“What I would like to see is reduced admissions into hospital for diabetes; reduced incidents of amputation because we have better foot care, both by the patient and by the health care provider. I would love to see a reduction in the number of cases that have to be referred overseas because of complications.”
Dr Walwyn described the money being spent in that regard as phenomenal, noting that it cost tens of thousands of US dollars to send just one such patient overseas for treatment.