The burden of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes, is increasing among the OECS Member States, with an estimated 1 in every 4 persons over the age of 40 being affected. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), over 14,000 cases of diabetes were recorded in Saint Lucia in 2017.
Hence, the OECS Health Unit has committed to the reduction of the number of citizens affected by diabetes in the Eastern Caribbean, especially through securing funding valued at USD 400,000 from the World Diabetes Foundation to support the prevention and care of diabetes in five countries of the Eastern Caribbean including Saint Lucia.
The 'Love Your Feet Campaign' also formed part of the regional campaign and pursued three main objectives including:
- preventing and controlling diabetes;
- raising awareness on the importance of foot care; and
- decreasing the high number of amputations due to complications of diabetes in Saint Lucia.
Throughout the campaign, a team of health professionals conducted multiple activities including blood tests, blood pressure tests and feet massages.
SLDHA President, Andrew Felix, stated
"We promoted foot care and encouraged individuals to love their feet, and love their partner's feet, as we aim to reduce the complications of diabetes and the escalating levels of amputations in Saint Lucia."
The campaign occurred every Friday in February at Blue Coral mall, Castries, and recorded the participation of approximately 50 people per day.
The OECS Health Unit is planning to launch similar initiatives during year 2020.