Tuesday, April 06, 2010

medical experts present findings

By API Government on 4/06/10

The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines now have more information on people living with disabilities and the nature of their disabilities.

This is after a group of Cuban Experts in the medical field handed over the findings of the Life to Live study to Prime Minister Dr. the Hon Ralph Gonsalves and Minister of Health Dr. Douglas Slater on Wednesday  March 31st at the Foreign Affairs Conference Room.

The study which represents the largest investigation ever made the area of disability in their country took the Cuban officials just over one month. They covered areas ranging from Fancy to Chateaubelair and the Grenadines.

Among the major findings, 2195 people were identified to have some form of disability, whether physical, intellectual, mental or multiple.  It was further observed that most people with disabilities are male, prevailing in mental and intellectual disabilities.  Further, 322 people are totally dependent for carrying out activities of daily living and another 1216 need some level of assistance.

Minister of Health Dr the Hon Douglas Slater said the Life to Live study is a highly scientific one which we could not do on our own and he is pleased that St Vincent and the Grenadines is the first English speaking Caribbean country to benefit from such a study.

Dr, Slater said the study has picked up a significant number of amputees.  As a result the Ministry has to review its programmes to deal with managing cases which may lead to amputations such as chronic non-communicable diseases, the most common being diabetes.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Dr the Hon Ralph Gonsalves in his remarks said that a civilization is judged to a large extent by the way it threats, handles and addresses the issues and concerns of the disadvantaged in it’s society.  And with an estimated 2.13% of the population having some form of disability. Dr Gonsalves said he has noted the causes brought forward by the study and his government will now work towards implementing a practical work programme of correctives immediately and over a medium and long term basis.

Issues of housing for the disabled, including electricity and water as well as wheelchair accessible roads are some of the factors which the Prime Minister noted are to be addressed.
“To handle the issue efficaciously, we need a lot of  resources,” Dr. Gonsalves said. 

He however added that with local funds and some from the European Union, the government  programmes will go a long way to make sure that Life to Live take every disabled person from the shadows into the sunlight.

The Live to Live study was carried out in Cuba between 2001 and 2003.  It was concluded in Venezuela in 2008.  The study is currently being carried out simultaneously in Ecuador, Nicaraqua and Bolivia.