Government is being urged to invest in purchasing more equipment to treat persons who are suffering from renal failure, which is often times caused by diabetes, instead of building a research centre.
United Workers Party (UWP) candidate for Vieux Fort South Dr. Ulric Mondesir told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in an exclusive interview on Friday, December 16, that there is “no immediate need” for such a facility.
Dr. Mondesir believes that the government should focus on saving lives, since many Saint Lucians suffer daily from the deadly disease. These persons he said also find it difficult to get timely treatment.
The physician admitted that diabetes is a very serious health issue in St. Lucia, but said that more needs to be done to properly treat persons who have developed renal failure and building a research centre will not help to solve the immediate problems.
The UWP candidate said the disease cost many Saint Lucia families great economic burden and in some cases where a person may need three treatments every week, they simply can’t get it done, because of limited resources in the local health care sector. This eventually leads to death.
And according to him, when someone dies of renal failure, in some cases they are sometimes the bread winner for their family, they leave debts behind and an uncertain future for their spouse and children.
He said investing in several dialysis machines at hospitals island-wide will help to reduce the number of deaths that occur as a result of renal failure, arguing that other developed countries are actively involved in diabetes research.
Dr. Mondesir told SNO that even though it has been explained that the centre will be built for free, he said it would still cost government a lot to maintain, because the facility will need top scientists.
Government recently announced that WScience Laboratories Chairman and Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Dr Walid Juffal will provide “generous” technical and financial support to establish the diabetes centre here, the first of its kind in the region.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony told a recent political rally that nearly every Saint Lucian “has a relative or a loved one would have been suffering from the disease” and said the investment will touch the lives of many citizens.
Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that younger Saint Lucians, including children, are now being diagnosed with diabetes. It was reported that persons 12, 14 and 15 year old are now being diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes which is usually associated with older people.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2014, there were 10,200 reported cases of diabetes in Saint Lucia. Recent statistics shows that over 100 Saint Lucians lost limbs to diabetes in the past two years.
Saint Lucia has one of the highest per capita rate of diabetes in the world.