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PAHO hosts HEARTS initiative workshop in Saint Lucia

By Fernelle Neptune, Ministry of Health

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(PRESS RELEASE) — Health workers around the island were granted the opportunity to participate in a workshop, aimed at building their capacity on the implementation of the HEARTS initiative.

The workshop was held by the Department of Health and Wellness and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The participants were able to gain knowledge on the best practices for ensuring the management of cardiovascular diseases at the primary health care facilities.

Senior Medical Officer for Non-Communicable Diseases NCDs Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert says this initiative is extremely important and is hoped that it will assist with decreasing the mortality rate of cardiovascular disease in Saint Lucia.

“HEARTS encompasses all the health care providers; we talking about the doctors, nurses, health educators, nutritionists, the pharmacist. Everybody is on board with HEARTS, everybody has a role in HEARTS, everybody knows what is it that is expected and also HEARTS is very patient-oriented. It is not about the doctor coming to tell the patient what to do but there is discussion, counselling. It is a holistic way of managing a patient with high blood pressure to prevent strokes and heart attacks.”

Consultant for the WHO Global Hearts Initiative Dr. Kenneth Connell says it is necessary that countries in the Caribbean region engage in health system interventions to ensure better cardiovascular disease outcomes.

“HEARTS uses the system strengthening such that we can provide care at a lower cost that is evidence-based and with better results. Two simple interventions: take for instance, this isn’t a new drug assist cover or even a new way of doing things. It is getting health care providers to work together as a team, it is also using the most evidence-based drugs which is actually not very expensive and having a structure.”

The training also focused on identifying strategic approaches and measures to protect Saint Lucians from cardiovascular diseases.

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