PRESS RELEASE – Hats off to the men of Mon Repos who not only agreed to do the first “nom tousel” Viv Byen workshop in St. Lucia, but completed the six week program and have called themselves the “Viv Byen Nom Mo Po #1 group”.
They noted the benefit was so immense that they will now encourage other men in Mon Repos to do the program and will also engage health professionals like the nutritional officer to guide them further as they commit to managing their lives more healthily.
So impressed were they that they organized a graduation ceremony on Sunday April 10th 2016. This was a lively occasion. The men brought fruits and coconut water from their farms, baked goods and when we arrived they were chatting together and plating all the goodies for attendees.
One of the men and a friend from the community entertained the group, delighting us with several La Rose renditions. The Inspirational Pilgrims delivered a soulful, melodious harmony that really made us reflect on how grateful we must be to God for all these gifts and for the efforts of our volunteers in St. Lucia. We heard testimonials from four members. One of them said he managed his business, his farm and family over many years, but doing this program made him realize he had never taken time to manage himself.
Viv Byen is the name the St. Lucia Arthritis and Lupus association (SLALA) has given to Stanford University’s Chronic disease self-management program.
SLALA first introduced the Arthritis self-management program to St. Lucia in 2002 and our Master trainers taught leaders in Barbados too. We decided to cross-train in Chronic disease self-management in 2005 so that everyone in St. Lucia could benefit from this revolutionary, cost-effective program and it was included in the strategic plan for health in 2007. We collaborated with the Ministry of Health and s involved all NGO’s .
However, the program requires leaders to do enough workshops to maintain the license from Stanford and we, unfortunately had to retrain leaders in 2014. We have raised and spent close to EC$100 000 to get where we are today. We now have four Master trainers- Jackie Atkinson, Rose Aubertin, Mary Charlery and Nannette Reyes.
They have the responsibility of training more leaders and running workshops for clients, along with the 35 leaders we now have all across the island. Most of our leaders were identified by the Ministry of Health and work at health centres in every region. The other leaders include policemen, teachers, doctors, and other community- minded people.
Mary Charlery and Catherine Augustin were the leaders for “Viv byen Nom Mo Po #1” and the men applauded their dedication to the cause. Catherine found time to meet with them even outside of the workshop to help them realise their goals.
Mary is a resident of Mon Repos but works in Babonneau and has probably been the most dynamic of all our new leaders since 2014.
From August 2014 to now we have completed twenty workshops across the island and three more are planned to start over the next month.
SLALA trained more leaders in Soufriere in June 2015 and is currently planning a leaders workshop for Vieux Fort in June 2016.
Viv Byen is a crucial part of the patient-centred approach to health. We realize that the traditional medical model does not work well. This is evident since, in spite of significant developments in medical knowledge, techniques and targeted therapies as well as access to information via the media and internet, the prevalence of obesity has doubled from 1980 to 2008, Diabetes prevalence is expected to double by 2030. The major causes of death are no longer infectious diseases but chronic, non-communicable diseases. In the US 70 % of health care cost is for chronic disease. Less than 1 % is used for prevention of disease.
It is estimated in the US that if Stanford’s self-management program was to reach 10% of the population, US$6.6 billion would be saved.This is with an estimated cost of the self-management program of US$200 per client.Compare this to St. Lucia where Viv Byen is offered virtually free.
This self-management program, which we call Viv Byen, has been studied and proven to improve self-efficacy, i.e. one’s belief that one can make a positive change to achieve one’s goals. It reduces the amount of sick leave taken, decreases the number of visits to health centres and emergency rooms, reduces the number of days in hospital.
We recognize that we will never be able to afford the latest expensive medication or technology but thankfully, for the most part,we won’t need those if we concentrate on the following-
Health promotion and prevention of chronic disease
Appropriate referral to specialists,
Shared care- partnership across private, public, NGO
Multidisciplinary team approach-
Support from family, friends, community, support groups.
The only way to achieve this is with education and empowerment of our people and collaboration across the board. Viv Byen offers the way forward.
Ask for the program in your community or work place.