STEPS Survey Results Revealed

By anguillian February 13, 2018 09:55




The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), held a public presentation at the La Vue Conference Room on Monday, February 5th, to reveal the results of the STEPS Health Survey which was conducted from June to December 2016.

Present at the event were local health personnel, Government officials, Heads of Departments, representatives of PAHO/WHO and members of the general public. Special guest in attendance was Mrs. Blondel Cluff, CBE, Anguilla’s UK/EU representative in London.

The STEPS survey was a national program which randomly chose persons from all across the island to be tested so that the prevalence and risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) can be generally determined. Steps 1, 2 and 3 were carried out. In step 1, socio demographic and behavioral information with regard to health factors was collected. Step 2 focused on the participants’ physical measurement such as height, weight, body mass index and blood pressure. In step 3, biochemical measurements were collected to asses blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

The survey was conducted among 25% of the general population, and focused on an age grouping of adults between 18 – 69 years old. Causes of non-contagious diseases such as cancers, hypertension, diabetes and the like were tracked.

In her opening address, Mrs. Twyla Bradshaw-Richardson, Director of the Chronic Disease Unit, said: “Today is a testimony to our dedication, determination and passion. It sends the message that no task is unachievable once we remain focused. It is even more prominent with the deadly impact of the non-communicable diseases being a national issue. Anguilla is committed to decreasing, by 25%, mortality and morbidity caused by non-communicable diseases by the year 2025, but it will require a coordinated, collaborated and focused approach. I have no doubt that we can achieve this.”

Ms. Bradshaw then introduced the Minister of Health and Social Services, Hon. Evans McNeil Rogers, who said: “I greet our UK/EU rep of Anguilla, Mrs. Blondel Cluff, who is here with us for a few days, as well as my friends from PAHO. I stand here as a proud PAHO Fellow as Minister of Health in Anguilla. We gather here today to learn of the main findings of the STEPS Non-Communicable Disease factor risk survey. I believe that the details show somewhat worrying statistics.
The Minister said that he wanted to focus on the importance of partnership, seeing that this is the crux of the matter if things were going to be turned around as far as the major non-communicable diseases were concerned. He stated: “As stakeholders in the fight against NCDs, we are quite aware of the negative impact that cardio-vascular diseases, including strokes, heart-attacks, cancer and diabetes are having here in Anguilla. They are responsible for more than 50% of deaths and for well over 50% of our total healthcare expenditure each year.”

He explained what he meant by healthcare expenditure: “This means very high out-of-pocket costs and it’s an ever-increasing insurmountable cost to the public purse. This is in part due to those who can least afford healthcare and require Government’s assistance, whether it be locally or quite often overseas.

“The World Health Organization has clearly stated that in order to lessen the impact of NCDs on individuals, and on society, a comprehensive approach is needed. This includes the participation of all sectors and departments including health, finance, transport, education, agriculture, planning and others. We must all collaborate as partners to reduce the risks associated with NCDs and promote intervention to control and prevent them.”

The actual presentation of the survey results was made by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Aisha Andrewin. Following is an extract of this information. Tobacco Use: Current Smokers – 10.2% Males, 1.5% Females. Alcohol Consumption: Current Drinkers – 64.0% Males, 39.9% Females. Fruit & Vegetable Consumption: Eating less than 5 servings daily – 89.2% Males, 88.2% Females. Physical Activity: Not engaging in vigorous activity – 43.9% Males, 77.95% Females. Physical Measurement: Overweight – 66.4% Males, 73.9% Females. Raised Blood Pressure – 30.6% Males, 27.8% Females. Raised Blood Glucose – 8.2% Males, 7.1% Females. Raised Cholesterol – 41.4% Males, 40.3% Females.

Brief remarks were made by PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Godfrey Xuereb. He mentioned that he was honored to be present while the STEPS survey results were presented, and made note of the fact that Anguilla was the second UK overseas territory in the region to have such a ceremony — and one of the few countries in the OECS to have such data. He reiterated that non-communicable disease is the number one cause of death and disability in Anguilla, and stressed that the four major risk factors that cause diseases are: an unhealthy diet, low physical activity, the use of tobacco, and the harmful use of alcohol. He said: “I am sure that the results of this STEPS survey will be used to create evidence-based decisions which will eventually lead to an improvement in the health status of the nation.”

Many questions were posed by the audience and pertinent comments were made by many in attendance. The Ministry of Health hopes to conduct a repeat STEPS survey in 2021.

By anguillian February 13, 2018 09:55


Latest Poll

Do you like the new layout of the Anguillian ?