Deyalsingh: More lives could have been saved from covid if diabetes was under control

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

BY EXAMPLE: Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh takes part in some warm-up exercises with senior citizens after unveiling one of two TTMoves signs at the Sangre Grande Health Centre on Thursday. – Angelo Marcelle

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said on Thursday more lives could have been saved during the pandemic if diabetes and other comorbidities were better controlled.

He was speaking at the unveiling of the new TTMoves signage at the Sangre Grande Health Centre on Thursday.

The TTMoves campaign aims to prevent, control and reduce the risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and sensitise the public on healthier lifestyle choices.

Deyalsingh said an estimated 14.5 per cent of the population—about 203,000 people—are living with diabetes.

“When we analyse the 3,700 people who died with covid19, the number one comorbidity was diabetes. Think about how many lives could have been saved if those living with diabetes were better controlled.”

He said NCDs are defined as lifestyle diseases caused by unhealthy habits.

“What we want to start to do is to ask people to make a lifestyle choice to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables, and (encourage) people to start to move.”

A statement from the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) said the campaign adopts a wholistic approach to promote healthier lifestyles and behaviour modification through positive reinforcement of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

NCD specialist and chronic care coordinator at the ministry Dr Anushka Bissoon-Pustam said the programme has several objectives including strengthening and reengineering of the NCD services in the public sector.

She said the programme will also encourage school-aged children to drink more water and reduce the intake of sugary beverages. It will also reassess the school feeding programme to ensure the food provided is nutritious.

The TTMoves signs will be displayed at five select facilities including the Toco Health Centre, Mayaro District Health Facility, Rio Claro Health Centre and Sangre Grande Hospital.

During the unveiling, a steel curtain rod fell on Deyalsingh.

The mishap happened as Deyalsingh and Toco/Sangre Grande MP Roger Monroe stood on either ends of a curtain which hid the new signage.

As both the minister and the MP pulled on the cords, the curtain did not budge leading to Deyalsingh giving the rod an extra tug which caused the curtain to fall and the rod soon after. Deyalsingh was not hurt.