SKN averaging 12 new HIV cases per year

By LK Hewlett
Junior Health Minister Hon. Wendy Phipps has revealed that St. Kitts and Nevis has an average of 12 new HIV cases per year.

“In 2014 there were 16 cases as opposed to the 12 we had this year” she said during a recent presentation in the National Assembly.

For 2015 thus far, she added, there had been only one death- that of a male- attributed to the disease.

With regard the Ministry’s efforts towards testing, Minister Phipps informed, some 1800 tests have been conducted in 2015.

Non-communicable diseases, however, are still the leading cause of death in St. Kitts and Nevis, mainly heart disease, stroke, diabetes complications, and cancer.

“St. Kitts and Nevis, in terms of cancer, has an incidence of 53 cases of which 38 are female. There are 21 such cancer cases in Nevis, and this is for a year, not the quantum. Leading cancers are breast cancers, which represent 22.6%, cervical cancer 20.7%, and we have about 3 cases annually of prostate cancer,” she revealed.

As it relates to hypertension (high blood pressure), approximately 1328 patients are registered at the community-based health system, and 1155 persons are registered for diabetes (high blood [glucose] sugar).

Diabetes complications account for 11% of deaths, said Minister Phipps.

These figures do not represent the entire figure for the federation as some persons would be under the care of their private physicians, she pointed out.

“The studies we have conducted however indicate that up to 20% of our population, which is just over 48000 persons, are presenting with elevated levels of blood glucose so it tells us this figure is a lot higher than we think, but we can only account for those within the community-based health system.”

Homicide is also among the leading causes of death in St. Kitts and Nevis.

According to the Minister, the leading cause of morbidity in the twin islands is obesity, representing 14%, followed by asthma, injuries, child neglect and abuse.

Future plans for the Ministry of Health include the expansion of the health information system project- for which $173, 810 has been allocated in the 2016 federal budget; the ICT connectivity for institutional based community services would be continued; and the establishment of an oncology unit at the JN France Hospital. (St Kitts & Nevis Observer)

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