Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 05, 2016 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis has been hailed as the first member of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to successfully implement a pilot programme on the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP) which was regionally renamed the Better Health Begins with Me programme as was revealed at the opening of a Chronic Disease Leader Training Workshop this morning (September 05, 2016.)


While there were several factors to which the success of the programme was attributed, Dr. Patrice Lawrence-Williams the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Country Programme Specialist said that planning was key.


“St. Kitts and Nevis was the only country in the OECS to go along this route initially because this is what propelled the success and encouraged other countries in the OECS – hey this programme can work, let us now get involved.  The success of the programme was measured objectively with clearly defined indicators and since then the PAHO ECC had developed a monitoring and evaluation plan to be utilized by other countries and have also asked other countries to develop a national plan.”


The Country Programme Director revealed that PAHO had entered an agreement with Stanford University to implement CDSMP in the Caribbean and Latin American.  In June 2015, along with other participants from the region, two community-based nurses (Jo-ann Charles and Ermine Jeffers) and one health educator (Vera Edwards-France) journeyed to St. Lucia for one week of training to become certified as master trainers.  Upon their return, they collaborated with the Country Programme Office to develop an action plan for the implementation of the programme.  This involved conducting a pilot programme as they wanted to be sure that it could also work in St. Kitts and Nevis.


The CDSMP is a community-based self-management education programme designed to assist participants in gaining confidence and skills to better manage their chronic conditions.  She said the information is disseminated in small-group highly interactive workshops that meet once a week for two and a half hours over the course of six weeks, and are facilitated by the leaders, such as those being trained at the current four-day workshop. 


“Excess weight 73 percent of the participants reported a positive weight change, so those who were overweight lost weight and those who were underweight gained weight,” Dr. Lawrence-Williams said.   “High cholesterol levels, the number of participants with acceptable cholesterol levels increased by 13 percent.  So some of the participants who had high cholesterol levels actually had a decrease in their cholesterol levels.”


Dr. Lawrence-Williams further noted that 46 percent of the participants had attained acceptable hypertension levels at the start of programme and at three months after the programme began an additional 23 percent had acceptable readings.  Participants with diabetes had a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels.  There was a 63 percent reduction in depression among paticipants.  This, she said, was statistically significant in clients with weight loss.

The CDSMP was developed via a collaborative effort of the Stanford University and the Northern California Kaiser Medical Care Program.