Public Health

The PHG is leading the monitoring & evaluation of the landmark "Port of Spain 2007 Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases" by CARICOM heads of state. This evaluation, funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), began in April 2014 with the aim to assess progress within CARICOM member countries towards developing and implementing policies on the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable diseases. The multi-partner project is led by Professors Unwin and Samuels with co-investigators including the CARICOM Secretariat Health Desk, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, the Pan American G8 Group at the University of Toronto, and at The UWI Institute for International Relations (St Augustine), UWI Health Economics Unit (St Augustine), and UWI Department of Community Medicine and Psychiatry (Mona).

An exciting current intervention led by the PHG is the Barbados Diabetes Reversal Study (BDRS). Type 2 diabetes is highly prevalent in Barbados and responsible for a high burden of complications and premature mortality. BDRS hinges on the demonstration by researchers in the UK that a short (2 or 3 month) very low calorie diet, followed by weight maintenance, is able to reverse type 2 diabetes and restore normal insulin production and glucose metabolism, so long as undertaken within six years following diagnosis.

BDRS is funded by Virgin Unite, and was launched by Sir Richard Branson in the second week of December at a press conference at the Diabetes Association of Barbados. The Diabetes Association and Foundation are both key partners in this study. The consulting diabetologist is Charles Taylor of the FMS, qualitative evaluation led by Maddy Murphy from PHG and the study coordinator is Karen Bynoe. The initial aim of the study is to determine the acceptability and transferability of a very low calorie diet plus structured long-term support to Barbados.

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