An estimated seven out of every 10 deaths in Barbados are linked to a non-communicable disease (NCD).
The connection between NCDs and complications associated with COVID-19 is also well established as this opportunistic virus thrives on NCDs, weakening an already compromised system. Although the high incidence of non-communicable diseases in Barbados did not start with COVID-19, the pandemic has revealed holes in the system to address them. The situation also puts to the test traditions and behaviours surrounding NCD triggers
For the island, this presents a multi-pronged challenge to its public health assets. Barbados has long been keeping a close eye on what has been recognised as a high incidence of NCDs including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels), cancers and pulmonary diseases.
To that has recently been added a fifth category: mental health disease. Once included, the numbers rise and, along with them, the cost of healthcare.