Over fifty health care professionals gathered at the Princess Margaret Hospital conference room to review a manual on the Management of Hypertension and Diabetes. The health care professionals were apprised on the contents of the manual; they were to identify gaps; make recommendations and give consensus on the contents.

The development of the manual is collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Ross University School of Medicine and was developed in consultation with a team of experienced and committed health professionals.

In a brief overview, Coordinator for Health Promotion and Focal Point for Chronic Non Communicable Diseases (CNCDs), Helen Royer, said,”The combined manual is designed as a reference not only for health professionals working in the hospital and community setting but also for health professionals who take care of diabetic/hypertensive patients in other institutions”

She also emphasized that the aim of the manual is to provide current and accurate information on Management of Diabetes and Hypertension and to guide Health Professionals in the treatment and care of specific problems. The document is expected to provide the users with relevant, evidence based information on latest trends and guidelines on the management of these conditions.

Dominica’s Chief Medical, Dr. David Johnson stated that Chronic Non Communicable Diseases- CNCDs are the leading cause of illness and death in Dominica and accounts for the greatest impact on government’s expenditure for drugs and supplies. He said the two diseases Hypertension and Diabetes are the main reasons for visits to doctors and family nurse practitioners in clinics throughout Dominica.

The Chief Medical Officer said that the development of the manual to address Diabetes and Hypertension will be governed by the mission of the Ministry of Health which is to promote the well-being of all citizens of Dominica through the provision of preventive, curative, promotive and rehabilitative health care, compatible with acceptable standards of human dignity at a cost that is affordable and sustainable.
He declared, however, given the increasing cost to manage life style diseases, proper nutrition and physical exercise must also form critical components of the manual.

Professor Gerald Grell, Dean of Clinical and Community Affairs at Ross University School of Medicine provided an update on hypertension management.

He confirmed that the definition for hypertension has been redefined. Health providers can no longer refer to a reading of 120/80-139/89 mmHg as normal, but as prehypertensive.

The current clinical definition of Systemic Hypertension is influenced by the New USA JNC 7 Classification for Adults Aged 18 Years & Above and reads as follows
Normal: < 120/80 mm Hg
Prehypertension: 120/80-139/89 mmHg
Stage 1 :140/90-159/99 mmHg
Stage 2 : 160/100 or Greater

The University Professor emphasized that the new clinical system should be used in the medical field and included in the hypertension   manual and other clinical books. This he said is critical because patients should be alerted to the onset of pre-hypertension

A situation analysis of Diabetes and Hypertension in Dominica was presented by Sarah Carsley, a Canadian Epidemiologist Intern attached to the Ministry of Health.

The Manual will be launched by the end of the month.