Trinidad and Tobago is facing a growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease.
These chronic conditions account for over 62 percent of deaths each year, with three quarters occurring in people under 70. Over half the country’s population has three or more risk factors, such as poor nutrition, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol and tobacco, placing them at greater danger of developing a chronic illness. Health authorities are empowering and equipping communities to take more care of their health through prevention and self-management of chronic conditions is an effective way.
Dr Michael Jaggernauth, a Trinidad primary health care physician, suffers from diabetes. Despite being a medic, he admits he struggled to treat his own condition. This is very common. While people know, in theory, that adequate exercise and a healthy diet matter, they find it difficult to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Dr Jaggernauth attended a programme for medics to help make better health choices and pass on tips to members of the public.