September 30, 2023

Better Numbers for Better Health

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The Minister of Health the Hon. Mark Scotland launched the country’s first-ever health risk factor survey – Healthy Nation 2012 – this week (Monday, 30 April) calling it a proud moment for his ministry.

“This is the culmination of many months’ work. Since being appointed Minister for Health three years ago, this has been one of the initiatives I have strongly advocated for,” Minister Scotland said.

Healthy Nation 2012 is part of the Ministry’s drive to establish baseline health data for the Cayman Islands which will greatly enhance healthcare policy and programming. The survey follows international guidelines and is based on the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Steps Survey which has been successfully used across the region.

Participants are randomly selected and enumerators will go to 2,100 randomly selected households to gather information on demographics, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, alcohol and tobacco use. They will also take measurements on height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure.

A smaller subset of the sample group will be sent to the Health Services Authority for blood tests to measure blood glucose and total cholesterol.

“These are all standard non-communicable disease indicators which can be used to assess the predisposing factors to deadly diseases. This will allow us to establish a baseline for the country, and since it is being done using World Health Organisation (WHO) methodology, we can also compare the findings with other countries’ statistics. The survey will be updated in the future and we will then be able to measure the success of policies and strategies that were implemented,” the Minister explained.

Field work starts on Monday, 14 May, and will run for approximately eight weeks.  Similar to Census 2010, enumerators will be easily identifiable by their T-shirts and identification cards and all information is strictly confidential.

“While participation is voluntary, we want to send out the message that if you are selected you should participate – the information we get from this survey will help us better target our healthcare programmes, ultimately leading to improved health and well-being for everyone in the Cayman Islands.

“You are not only doing it for yourself, you are doing it for everyone,” concluded Minister Scotland.

Government agencies involved in the survey are the Public Health Department, Health Services Authority and Economics and Statistics. The study has also attracted private sector support with BritCay, Cayman First and CINICO coming aboard as major sponsors and BAF as a supporting sponsor. Other sponsors include Fidelity, AON and AETNA.




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