The health sector received $512 million more in the 2023/24 budget than it did in 2022/23 and the president of the Diabetes Association, Andrew Dhanoo, hopes to see some of it used in diabetes and non-communicable disease prevention programmes.
Reserving overall comment on the budget until further details are given by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, Dhanoo told Newsday he hopes the money will be allocated towards getting diabetes nurse educators in every primary healthcare centre.
"We have nurses who are trained as diabetes educators but they aren't hired in those positions. So the position has to be created," he said in a WhatsApp message. "They provide people with diabetes with support which is beyond just medication. They teach them how to manage with nutrition and exercise and go in-depth with medication. Doctors and nurses usually don't have time to do this," he said.
He said the association stands ready to assist in any way it can to establish the positions.
"We have been training lay diabetes educators. We have 30 being trained now, so we will assist with diabetes nurse educator training as well," he said.
The International Diabetes Federation estimates that of 1,005,400 adults in Trinidad and Tobago, there are 148,900 with the disease. This equates to 14.8 per cent of the adult population.
The Minister of Health told Newsday he was satisfied with the sector's budget allocation and said he would speak "at length" during the budget debate.