By Fareeza HaniffWhile approximately10, 000 new cases of diabetes are reported every year, with the majority occurring among women, the Ministry of Health has spent a total of $450 million for the third quarter of this year on medicines and supplies to treat the chronic disease.Apart from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, all the medicines were distributed to the various hospitals and health centers.At a press conference held on Saturday, Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, told reporters that approximately $150 million in medicines and supplies have been provided directly to health centers and hospitals around the country, with the exception of the GPHC which has the largest number of diabetes patients.The health centers and the Diamond Diagnostic Center in Region Four received about $50M worth of diabetes medicines up to the end of the 3rd quarter of 2009.The hospitals and health centers in Region 6 received about $31 million worth of diabetes medicines for the same period as well, while Regions 10 and Three received about $20M worth.The region receiving the smallest amount of medicine was Region Nine with just about $1.1 million worth.According to Minister Ramsammy, these are amounts added to the stocks that were already provided to the hospitals and health centers at the end of 2008 to cover the period up to April of 2009.The Ministry has been able to provide an average of more than 91 per cent of the requested amount of medicines for diabetes.“Unless consumption reports are up-to-date, we are unable to determine whether the requested amount represents the actual need. As far as we are aware, the health centers and hospitals have not experienced shortages for 2009 in relation to diabetes medicines,” Dr. Ramsammy said.Recently, the Health Ministry made medicines for diabetes and hypertension a priority, taking care to ensure that there is always an adequate supply.The number one ranked diabetes medicine in terms of cost for the first three quarters of 2009 was zinc-based insulin injection. The Ministry supplied $30 million worth of insulin for use at the hospitals and health centers, with the exception of GPHC, up to the end of September this year.It was noted that the financial cost of supplying the top five medicines, including insulin and methformin,Cheap Jerseys, was $100 million.In terms of volume, the top medicine was captopril and methformin.“The Ministry is monitoring the supply of medicines and supplies for diabetes and hypertension around the country. We believe we have been able to procure adequate amounts of these medicines and supplies for all the hospitals and health centers, including GPHC.”Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has finally responded to a decade old call that chronic diseases, which include diabetes, represent a global pandemic and global crisis. The WHO is now trying to convince the United Nations to have a conference next year at which the crisis would be recognised and formalised.According to Minister Ramsammy, a study done by the Ministry several years ago revealed that more than 60 per cent of the population is either overweight or obese. Another Body Mass Index (BMI) study done this year at Guyexpo found that 53 per cent of the people who got their BMI checked were overweight, while 25 per cent were obese.The Health Minister said that a larger study will be conducted in 2010 in all the regions of Guyana while an obesity and overweight registry will also be established and maintained by the Ministry of Health.Chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and cancer, account for more than 60% of deaths in Guyana. These diseases also account for more than half of the disease morbidity in Guyana as well as most of the disease burden in the country.Guyana has become one of the major participants in the global movement to get the United Nations and the world to recognise the increasing crisis that the chronic-non-communicable diseases present.“The diabetes crisis is causing more deaths in every country every year. With each passing year, diabetes is contributing more to morbidity (people being sick), causing more hospitalisation and leading to an alarming increase in a number of complications – more heart diseases, more kidney diseases, more amputations, more eye diseases etc,” Dr. Ramsammy said.Beside the human suffering and its many untold tragedies and poverty, diabetes is increasingly consuming a greater amount of the financial resources in the health sector.