Statistics have shown that chronic diseases have been the leading cause of deaths in the British Virgin Islands over the last decade.
This is according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) Dr Ronald Georges.
Speaking during a recent airing of the Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton Cline radio programme, the BVIHSA boss said: “I don’t have the figures for this year or last year but invariably over the last ten years or so, the cause of death have been cancers, cardiac disease or cardiac vascular disease which includes things like heart attacks, heart failures, strokes, and then some of the contributors would be things like renal disease, diabetes and those kinds of things.”
“You would have a smaller number of persons who die from things like drowning and violent deaths which are much smaller. But, invariably, most of the people that die, die because of the chronic diseases,” Dr Georges further said.
BVI Mortality Data Tracked
The BVIHSA CEO said death related-information is usually collected in the BVI to track mortality data.
He said everyone that dies must, therefore, have a ’cause of death’ and that information must be recorded.
“It (the cause of death information) finds itself on a death certificate and it is also recorded by the Ministry of Health,” Dr Georges explained. “Some people may not have autopsies, some persons may know what illnesses they had so invariably there is going to be a cause of death on a death certificate.”
What should or can be done?
Dr Georges said he believes several programmes are needed to help reduce chronic diseases in the BVI. He said these programmes should target persons from as early as childhood. He further said it will take a collaborative between several ministries to accomplish this goal.
“The Ministry of Health could recognise the problem, but most of the solutions exist in the other ministries. So it’s important to get … the ministries together and understand that health is just not Ministry of Health. You also need the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to do their thing, you need the Ministry of Agriculture doing their thing, you need the Ministry of Trade doing their thing.”
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