Diabetes education receives boost in Cayman Islands

The fight against diabetes received a significant boost last weekend as more than thirty health care professionals completed a Diabetes Educators’ Course. 

Sponsored by Rotary Central, the course focused on disease management strategies, addressing a critical shortage of health care professionals with the necessary ability to teach their patients self-management skills. 

“Diabetes and its complications are among the five leading causes of death worldwide,” said Zelta Gayle, a nurse and Rotary Central’s chairwoman for its diabetes initiative. “It is therefore important that people with diabetes be taught self-management skills in order to reduce the risk of complications from this disease. Unfortunately, to date, there have been only a few persons with this skill in the Caribbean.  

“This Diabetes Educators’ Course has been developed to train health care professionals to provide accurate, effective and culturally sensitive education to people with diabetes in the Caribbean,” she said. “By working as a member of a diabetes management team, the diabetes educator will improve the care that patients with diabetes receive by empowering the patient to make the necessary behavioural changes they need to manage their disease more effectively.” 

Attending the certification ceremony, Minister of Health Mark Scotland said while diabetes is one of the leading health care challenges, it is also one of the world’s most preventable epidemics, which can be countered through education and a strong focus on prevention and disease management. 

Addressing the participants, which included doctors, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists, the Mr. Scotland said, “While fighting diabetes is everyone’s battle, it is a fact that you health care professionals, you do find yourselves on the front lines of the struggle. You know first-hand that diabetes and its complications are among the five leading causes of death worldwide. Through equipping yourselves as diabetes educators, you are now able to teach the crucial self-management skills that are essential to reducing the risk of complications from diabetes.” 

Mr. Scotland also thanked Rotary Central for sponsoring the Diabetes Educators Course while adding, “My ministry is committed to addressing the disquieting rise in costly lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and we are always grateful for the support we are receiving from the community and private sector in this endeavour.” 

Rotary diabetes

Health Services Authority pharmacist Khimanie Blackwood, centre, and Andrea Hunt, a certified diabetes educator and consultant, are seen with Minister of Health Mark Scotland, far left. – Photo: Submitted