Min­is­ter an­nounces chronic dis­ease ac­tion plan

Fo­cus on pre­ven­tion and self-man­age­ment

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY JOSH HEALEY

New­found­land and Labrador now has a chronic dis­ease ac­tion plan.

Health Min­is­ter John Hag­gie shared the prov­ince’s new strat­egy to man­age chronic dis­ease at an event in Gan­der on Mon­day, em­pha­siz­ing pre­ven­tion and self-man­age­ment. Hag­gie said the plan rep­re­sents a shift in fo­cus for the health-care sys­tem.

“It’s al­ways been, more or less, a dis­ease-based ill­ness sys­tem, not a health sys­tem,” he said. “We need to change that em­pha­sis.”

The ac­tion plan tack­les an is­sue that en­com­passes ap­prox­i­mately 61 per cent of peo­ple in the prov­ince aged 12 and up, which is an alarm­ingly high num­ber, Hag­gie said.

Chronic dis­eases in­clude a large num­ber of ill­nesses, in­clud­ing arthri­tis, high blood pres­sure, di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and can­cer.

To tackle these ill­nesses, the gov­ern­ment is pre­par­ing to launch the BET­TER pro­gram as a part of its ini­tia­tive. This pro­gram will pro­vide one-onone life­style coach­ing to help pa­tients bet­ter man­age them­selves.

The BET­TER pro­gram will be avail­able in Happy Val­ley-goose Bay, Cor­ner Brook, Burin and Bon­av­ista.

Hag­gie high­lighted that these cen­tres were se­lected to help iden­tify po­ten­tial gaps in cov­er­age.

“It was one of those ini­tia­tives that was felt to pick on areas of re­ally high need. If you look at each of these areas, there are chal­lenges around com­mu­nity care or around health out­comes,” he said.

The ser­vices are ex­pected to be avail­able by the end of the sum­mer. An­other as­pect of the ac­tion plan is an ex­panded Health­line, which will in­clude be­ing able to ac­cess the ser­vices of reg­is­tered di­eti­tians.

Lastly, the ac­tion plan hopes to pro­vide bet­ter screen­ing for dis­eases such as can­cer.

Hag­gie em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of deal­ing with both the pre­ven­tion side of things while also man­ag­ing those who are cur­rently af­flicted by chronic dis­eases.

“The pre­ven­tion pieces al­ways has a long lead time, but in terms of ef­fort, you will get the best value for the dol­lars you spend. It’ll take 15 or 20 years to show,” he said.

JOSH HEALEY/THE BEA­CON

Health Min­is­ter John Hag­gie an­nounces a new chronic dis­ease ac­tion plan in Gan­der on Mon­day.

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