Diabetic Retinopathy Programme continues
Monday, March 4, 2019
by Fernelle Neptune, Ministry of Health

A team from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust recently visited Saint Lucia to review the work undertaken through the Diabetic Retinopathy program.

Communications Officer of the Trust, Samantha Wood, said the visit will grant them the opportunity to observe how the program is executed. Wood believes the Diabetic Retinopathy Program will help to address the burden of diabetes in Saint Lucia.

“It is really important for the Trust to work in Saint Lucia with the Ministry of Health on this diabetic retinopathy initiative,” she said. “People don’t need to go blind from having diabetes, so early intervention and screening will help. If people do have diabetes, make sure you getting your eyes checked so you don’t go blind from diabetes."

Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, expressed interest in continuing to work with the Trust to improve the diabetic retinopathy services on island.

"One of the aspects of this program is definitely communication. So, they are hoping to review the program at different levels and to get feedback of implementation to date,” she said. “This programme is extremely valuable to us, as prior to the funding received through the Trust and also the support of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we were not able to do laser surgery for diabetics with eye problems within the island."

Dr. Belmar-George also called on Saint Lucians to take advantage of the diabetic retinopathy services available at the various primary health care centers.

“At the Ministry of Health and Wellness, we continue to urge all our diabetics, whether you are experiencing problems with your vision or not; we are urging everybody to please come in and get your eyes screened and checked. We provide clinics every Friday at the Castries Wellness Center and presently at the Laborie Wellness Center since our Vieux-Fort Wellness Center is under repair.”

The diabetic retinopathy programme is managed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.