The number of people on kidney dialysis through the government health system has grown by 10 per cent per year over the past four years.
Minister of Health Anthony Eden said the figures came from Health Services Authority statistics.
‘It is to the point that as of [this] week, the Health Services will increase the hours of its dialysis clinic to 12 hours per day, six days a week.’
Mr. Eden made the comments when announcing an initiative by the Public Health Department to assist businesses in the private sector in organising their own health and wellness programmes. The assistance is also available to government departments.
The goal of the programme is to help people initiate positive lifestyle changes.
‘Recent studies released by the World Health Organisation, as well as the Pan American Health Organisation, have shown that unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are now among the leading causes of the major non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer,’ Mr. Eden said.
‘The toll that these diseases take on individuals is astounding,’ he said.
Two of the leading causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the National Kidney Foundation in the United States. Healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent both of those diseases.
The National Workplace Health and Wellness Programme will encourage changes in diet, physical fitness and stress management in order to minimize the risk factors of lifestyle diseases.
‘I cannot stress enough that it’s time to seriously address the growing problem of lifestyle diseases in the Cayman Islands,’ Mr. Eden said.
The programme, which will be open to businesses or government departments with at least 10 participants, will be offered on a first come, first served basis, said Director of Public Health Dr. Kiran Kumar.
Participating groups will first undergo a pre-assessment that will measure height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar, and waist size. A body composition analysis will also be conducted.
The programme will last three months, after which there will be a post-assessment that will allow participants to gauge results.
The Health Services Authority will conduct one group educational session on nutrition at the start of the programme. Topics in the session will include an introduction to healthy eating and weight management, [food] portion control, meal planning and label reading.
The HSA will also organise a fitness session that will recommend an exercise regime. Two fitness centres on Grand Cayman have offered gym packages to help facilitate the programme.
A workshop will also be organised for the final element of the programme, stress management. The workshop will educate participants on different relaxation techniques that can be used in their daily work life.
Dr. Kumar said investing time in the prevention programme was better than requiring healthcare later.
‘[Participating in the programme] is mutually beneficial to the employer and the employees,’ he said, noting that better health means less absenteeism from work.
Those interested in more information on the National Workplace Health and Wellness Programme should contact Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay on 244-2632 or by e-mail at [email protected].