On Thursday April 2nd, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Eastern Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists church hosted a Health Professionals Lifestyle Medicine Workshop to target the prevention, arrest and reverse of common risk factors for chronic disease.
The one day seminar was held to introduce health care professionals to the Complete Health Improvement Programme (CHIP).
CHIP, formerly the Coronary Health Improvement Project, is an affordable, lifestyle enrichment program designed to reduce disease risk factors through the adoption of better health habits and appropriate lifestyle modifications.
Clinical Professor of Preventative Medication in the United States, Dr. Hans Diehl is facilitator and founder of the programme.
He explained, “The seminar is entitled preventing and reversing NCDs and the first lecture will be focusing on the chronic vascular diseases, their emergence, escalation and the economic cost and how we management. Because we really don’t cure them but symptomatically manage them- making people more comfortable. This is okay but maybe we can do more by attacking the causes of these problems.”
According to Dr. Diehl, America is spending over 20% of its annual income on medical care, 84% of which is used to tackle non-communicable diseases.
He says the shocking reality is that these figures are no different in Dominica.
“86% of the diseases in Dominica are NCDs or lesser related,” he said. “Cardiovascular disease [is at] 36% and that’s a higher percentage than we have in America; 21% for cancer and 10% of diabetes which is almost all Type II and self-made or culturally-related.”
Thus, Dr. Diehl highlighted two of the objectives of that workshop.
“To recognize the limitations to the cost of high-tech medicine in dealing with and managing lifestyle-related chronic diseases. We’re talking about diseases related to the lifestyle diseases that we live: how we eat, how we smoke, how we exercise.
“To describe the changes in life expectancy and describe the emergence of our modern chronic diseases,” Dr Diehl listed.
The workshop also focused on how to reduce health care costs and improve overall health and wellbeing.
It is hoped that health care professionals will see the need to incorporate lifestyle intervention in current medical practices to improve emphasis on the prevention of NCDs.
Dominica is set to introduce its first Complete Health Improvement Program on April 14th, 2015.
For more information on C.H.I.P click here.