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Taiwan helps Saint Lucia complete first diabetes 'map'

2011/08/05 21:28:17

Taipei, Aug. 5 (CNA) Medical volunteers from two Taiwanese hospitals have helped Saint Lucia complete its first diabetes "map" and help authorities in the Caribbean ally raise public awareness of the disease.

The volunteers presented a report on the state of the disease in Saint Lucia at the Republic of China (Taiwan) mission in the country Thursday, with Ambassador Tom Chou, Saint Lucian Health Minister Keith Mondesir and other officials attending.

Chou said Changhua Christian Hospital has sent seven volunteer groups to Saint Lucia since November 2009. During those trips, the volunteers came to realize that diabetes has taken a major toll on the country.

"Due to the lack of medical knowledge, patients there often didn't get timely treatment, leading to the exacerbation of their illness or even debilitation," Chou said.

In the most recent volunteer mission, medical professionals from National Taiwan University Hospital and Changhua Christian Hospital studied the causes behind patients' diabetes and where they lived and then compiled the information in a simple map for the reference of health authorities.

The study by the two Taiwanese hospitals found that 8.5 percent of the country's population suffered from diabetes.

Mondesir expressed his appreciation for the volunteers' efforts and hoped they would return soon to conduct a more comprehensive study so that Saint Lucia could better distribute limited medical resources to those who most needed them.

(By Lilian Wu)