Maria: Proper strategy needed For Diabetes management

Commissioner of Public Health Maria Buncamper-Molanus re-iterated yesterday evening that there is a need for a structured and integrated strategy care-plan for the management of diabetes on St. Maarten.. The Commissioner was addressing a gathering of stakeholders at the Great Bay Beach Hotel whose focus was on determining the feasibility of developing a Diabetes Mellitus Disease Management policy framework for St. Maarten.


The Commissioner’s remarks were kept in the context of the areas of priorities in healthcare for government. Central to these priorities is the promotion and development of a collaborated multidisciplinary approach in respect to treatments, preventive activities and the management of health problems.


Based on this, government has approved the development of the Diabetes Mellitus Disease Management Policy Framework for St. Maarten, establishing government’s commitment of continuing programs which are aimed at promoting a healthy island through primary healthcare and the prevention of chronic diseases.


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"Diabetes Mellitus is one of the main chronic diseases that are highly prevalent in the population of St. Maarten. It is one of the leading causes on the island of amputations, blindness and other debilitating complications. However, as was discussed during the healthcare conference in January, these complications can be prevented if they are diagnosed in a timely fashion and treatment is accurately managed and monitored," the Commissioner said.

Furthermore, she added, according to the St. Maarten Health Study, 45.7% of the total sample (people) used reported to having one or more chronic conditions which become more prevalent with an increase in age. The study also revealed that 10.2% of the sample in the age group 45 and up reported being diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus.


The aim of the project Diabetes Mellitus Disease Management is to develop strategies that will ensure a collaborated, structured and integrated multidisciplinary approach in the management of Diabetes Mellitus on the island, culminating in a national policy on Diabetes Mellitus Disease Management for St. Maarten. This project has 5 phases:

1. Taking inventory the current situation: determining the key-stakeholders within this project and formulating a national mission statement on this topic.

2. Analyzing needs: developing a national policy framework, which will be the main guideline within this process.

3. Analyzing risk factors and bottlenecks: presenting and discussing various areas of intervention for implementation.

4. Prioritizing activities to be achieved: developing a plan of action.

5. Developing a strategic plan, whereby the priorities and strategies to be used are outlined.


"To execute the abovementioned phases the Sector Public Health, Social Development and Labor is collaborating with the consultancy firm ASCION, which has a vast experience in developing instruments for needs and risk-analyses, strategic planning, quality indicators & monitoring parameters as well as change management. They have also developed programs and instruments for various health problems including Diabetes Mellitus," Buncamper-Molanus said.