Regional journalists to highlight ‘lifestyle’ diseases

Regular feature writing on victims of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and consultations with youths and other stakeholders to find the best ways to highlight and tackle the regional epidemic were among commitments made by journalists last Saturday, at the conclusion of a two-day workshop in Barbados.

Journalists representing various sections of the media in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and St. Vincent all described the workshop, hosted by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), as informative and an “eye opener.”

Peter Richards, an editor at the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) in Trinidad, said that as someone who lost relatives to diabetes and cancer, he found the contents of the workshop interesting. He said that he intended to write a feature on NCDs.

According to Lisa King, from The Barbados Nation, she will embark on a one-week mission in September to produce a story each day on a victim of one of the four NCDs that were highlighted during the workshop. For her, this would be a first step in highlighting the seriousness of the issue and finding ways to tackle it.

The workshop focused on diabetes, heart disease, cancer and respiratory illness.

On the final day, special attention was paid to diabetics and participants were told that there is a large percentage of people living in Barbados with this disease and for some reason the victims are afraid to talk about it. Journalists were told of an instance where it was referred to as “de thing.”

Also there was a video clip on Caribbean Wellness Week, which was presented by Christina Mana, Programme Support specialist at PAHO. Additionally, participants were provided with detailed information on each of the four NCDs.

On day one, Dr. Leslie Rollock, Barbados’ Senior Medical Officer, had described NCDs as “silent killers,” since they remain undetected for a long period of time. She said that they are the leading cause of illnesses, disability and death both regionally and worldwide.

All the participants agreed that changing the lifestyle of youths by promoting healthy eating habits, regular exercise and limiting tobacco and alcohol use are the best chances there are of fighting NCDs.

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