Males urged  to get regular check-ups
March 29, 2011
Males urged to get regular check-ups

Having completed what is considered another successful medical mission to St.Vincent and the Grenadines, officials of the Patsy Douglas Youth Foundation Empowerment Fund are challenging men to get more involved in its programmes.{{more}}

The call was made at a Health Fair on Friday, March 25, which brought the curtains down on a one week medical mission by Vincentians, Endocrinologist Dr. Anita Ramsetty and Nurse Manager Ann Marie Lee-Wilkins, who are based in the United States.

The week of activities saw clinics staged at the Georgetown Diabetes and Amputee Clinic on Monday, March 21; Mespo/Kingstown Diabetes and Amputee Clinic on Tuesday, March 22; Layou Diabetes and Amputee clinic, Wednesday, March 23; and Bequia Diabetes and Amputee Clinic on Thursday, March 24.

Ramsetty said male participation this year was lower than last year.

“If I had to guess, I would say probably between five and eight women to one man, in general, turned out,” said Ramsetty, noting that this situation is not isolated to diabetic clinics here.

“I don’t think it’s so much that the women are more affected by diabetes necessarily. It may be as a general trend that men don’t come to clinics very often,” said Ramsetty.

As a result of more females attending to their health on a consistent basis, more women are diagnosed with diabetes annually. Women are also screened for diabetes during pregnancy.

Ramsetty said that until diabetes gets serious it does not hurt and “I think men tend to seek help either when they are in pain, or something obviously isn’t working. Otherwise they don’t go to the doctor much.”

“But given that heart disease affects men more than women, really and truly diabetes will hit them just as hard. And the longer you wait to get diagnosed, the more likely you are to have problems,” said Ramsetty.

She concurred that a large percentage of the workforce in St.Vincent and the Grenadines is made up of men, and if amputations are a major side effect of diabetes, a significant portion of the workforce will be dropped off as a result.

Ramsetty used the opportunity to appeal to all men to take regular checkups.

“I think, collectively, we need to say to our general public that health care is not something that is only required for women. It is required for the entire family,” said Ann Marie Lee-Wilkins, founder of the Patsy Douglas Youth Foundation Empowerment Fund.

“We would love to see more men at our health fair next year, so they can also educate more men within their group,” said Lee-Wilkins.

She said progress has started in the clinics that they visited. This, she said, is evident in the study protocol that the Foundation started in 2010 at clinics in Georgetown, Mesopotamia, Layou, and Bequia.

“Quite a few of these patients came back with fantastic A1C blood sugar well controlled, and doing daily feet examination,” said Lee-Wilkins.

“This is something that will be fruitful for the Vincentian population and something that the health care team here on the island, including us, can be proud of,” said Lee-Wikins.

Lee-Wilkins had high praises for diabetics on the Grenadine isle of Bequia. She said their blood sugars are well managed.

This may be due to a high fish intake, said Lee-Wilkins, noting that the Bequia situation will have to be investigated.

“Overall, I am very happy with our week,” said Lee-Wilkins.

Regarding the introduction of the health fair, Lee-Wilkins said she would like to see the Ministry of Health promote it a bit more, through frequent advertisements. She suggested that local personnel at the Ministry of Health conduct a live broadcast, with the aid of a tele-conference with health experts from the Foundation’s medical team, to assist with the programme’s promotion.

Lee-Wilkins expressed thanks to the Ministry of Health for the support that it provided to the Foundation. She also lauded Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Shirla Francis, Principal Nursing Officer Sister Audrey Gittens and the rest of the nursing fraternity.

She said that without the help of the personnel mentioned, the mission could not have been possible.

Lee-Wilkins also extended thanks to her colleagues who made the trip with her.