Health of the Nation

The first fruit of the collaboration between the GA-CDRC and the Public Health department is the Health of the Nation (HoTN) study. This important national survey, a collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Statistical Service, was coordinated by Christina Howitt under the supervision of Nigel Unwin, Professor of Public Health, and Angela Rose, Director of NCD Surveillance at the GA-CDRC.

HoTN was a cross sectional survey carried out between 2012-2013 designed to identify risk factors and chronic disease burden in the adult population of Barbados. It revealed a mixed picture on risk factors, with a genuine positive from lack of smoking offset by high levels of obesity and poor practices in diet and physical activity. This means that almost every Barbadian adult is carrying one or more risk factors for chronic disease. The burden of diabetes and hypertension was high, affecting one fifth and two fifths respectively of the adult population, and half of the over 65s.

The policy implications concluded that action was needed:

  • to involve all of government, civil society and the private sector to reduce risk throughout the population
  • to improve the identification of people with diabetes and hypertension and the delivery of care to control blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose

The HotN results will provide vital information to assist governmental agencies, civil society and the private sector in the creation of a robust policy and programme environment for the creation and control of NCDs in Barbados.

Kenneth S. George
Senior Medical Officer for Health - Non-communicable Disease, Ministry of Health, Barbados

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