A study just launched will investigate ways to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which cause more than 60 per cent of deaths in the Caribbean. Researchers from King’s College London, the University of Guyana (UG), Ross University Dominica and the University of the West Indies hope a new approach - training members of religious congregations who are embedded in local communities - will increase the reach of health services and reduce deaths.
The Caribbean epidemic of NCDs is the worst in the Americas. Deaths have continued to increase over the last two decades, driven by lifestyle choices, poor adherence to medication, and a fragile under-resourced health system that is struggling to ensure effective delivery of healthcare interventions.
Working in Guyana, Jamaica, and Dominica the project, Congregations Taking Action Against NCDS, aims to recruit almost 100 health advocates who have close links with religious congregations. Supervised by a nurse, they will be trained in several tasks, including promoting physical activity, healthy food choices and patient care. Read more about the study here.