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Two-pronged approach to fighting NCDs

Executive Manager of BARP, explains to customers at Carlton Supermarket the importance of reading labels. Executive Manager of BARP, explains to customers at Carlton Supermarket the importance of reading labels.

by Elsa Webster

The Barbados Association of Retired Persons is one of the largest organizations of its kind in Barbados, dedicated to improving
the quality of life of seniors, aged 50 plus. BARP offers a medical and health insurance plan (Golden Health Insurance Plan) to its members and based on the high claims ratio we have recognized that non-communicable diseases significantly affect a large percentage of our Members.

It is estimated that the prevalence of NCDs among BARP Members maybe in excess of 50%. It is well known that Barbados is a rapidly ageing society and this is borne by the rapid increase in new membership. Over the last year, more than 4,000 members have joined the Association. The high prevalence of NCDs among our membership, which currently stands at 40,000 is of grave concern and BARP has decided to intervene.

With NCDs accounting for 80 percent of total deaths in Barbados, the Barbados Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable
Diseases, 2013-2017, has identified health promotion and risk factor reduction, as strategies which should be utilized in helping to combat the prevalence of NCDs. All sectors of this national vision
are being encouraged to assist in the realization of this goal.

Minister of Health John Boyce recently appealed for more to be done to stop the “devasting” impact that NCDs are having on Barbados.

“A lot more needs to be done concerning non – communicable diseases, given the devastating effect we have been witnessing over the years,” he said, while addressing a medical conference at the Hilton last month.

BARP agrees and strongly believes that a two pronged approach that is based on education and awareness, as well as salt reduction in the diet, will have a significant impact in the management and reduction of non-communicable diseases.

The primary beneficiaries of this campaign will be our BARP Members however; it is expected that the secondary beneficiaries; households, families and friends of BARP members will significantly increase the reach of this campaign, making it one of national importance.

by Elsa Webster

It is with that in mind that BARP decided to emphasize Health and Wellness throughout 2014, and has formulated an overall plan entitled, “BARP on the Move”, which was launched during Agrofest 2014, held from February 28 March 2 in Queen’s Park.

The plan is to be implemented in short, medium and long term phases between 2014 – 2015.

To ensure sustainability, we will continue our educational and practical series, until the end of the year, to encourage and motivate members to lead active lives and make healthy food choices.

Our main partner on this project is National NCD Commission.

Our first phase focused on getting our members to eat less salt it was called; Just a pinch and included demonstration by chefs at the BARP
booth at Agrofest showing visitors to the booth, how they could cook tasty dishes with less or no salt.

BARP volunteers also visited A One supermarkets – Emerald City and Carlton Black Rock in March educating shoppers on the importance of reading labels before purchasing items to make sure they were low in sodium.

The second phase is encouraging BARP members to start and maintain backyard gardens and the benefits of eating fresh herbs and vegetables and the third phase will encourage members to move more by exercising, dancing or walking more.

In this effort to reduce the number of claims made by our members who have chronic non-communicable diseases, we will be partnering with leading health insurance providers to continue the promotion of the messages into the future, through seminars, workshops, marketing material, paid advertisements and health fairs.

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Just a Pinch