The announcement was made recently by Health Minister Alvina Reynolds during the handing over of 124 scales from the Taiwanese government.
According to Reynolds, this competition will add to the work already being done in the area of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), while promoting the involvement of all citizens.
Reynolds said the national weight loss competition, which will initially be launched regionally, will allow clients to be enrolled and compete against themselves and then against other regions.
“I think this will spur up a lot of activity, a lot of excitement which is what we want to sell health as – an exciting initiative. Health does not have to be boring. Health had to be exciting… It has to be fun,” she said.
The health minister said she is particularly concerned about the prevalence of obesity on island. She said an aggressive campaign against NDCs will ensure that citizens start living healthier.
Reynolds reminded that NCDs is the leading cause of death here and serious consideration must be given to the issue in order for it to decline. According to her, recent figures show that over 7,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes and more than 1,400 with hypertension.
In 2012, hypertension, cancer, heart disease and diabetes accounted for about 54 percent of deaths on the island. Since that report, the ministry has taken steps to curb the issue. A Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Policy and a Multi-Sectoral Lecture Plan was initiated. Several clinics are now providing treatment for all NCDs. Additionally, foot care services are now available island wide and physical education programmes have also been initiated.
Recently, over 80 healthcare professionals island-wide participated in an intense workshop geared towards improving the medical care provided to patients with diabetes and other NCDs.
The workshop was held between May 29-30 at the National Mental Wellness Centre in Castries. The facilitators of the workshop included Sub-Regional Advisor on NCDs to WHO Alberto Barceló and Advisor for PAHO Tomo Kanda.