Diabetes is a major public health challenge in the Caribbean affecting approximately 9% of the overall population in the region and is responsible for more than 13% of all adult deaths. In Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Dominica, and Jamaica diabetes is one of the leading causes of death. For example, in Trinidad and Tobago, and the British Virgin Islands, at least 14 % of the population is living with diabetes. Likewise, in Dominica, one out of every five persons in a public health clinic is afflicted with diabetes. Several factors are responsible for this epidemiological transition from communicable diseases to noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCD) in the Caribbean and this includes aging population, urbanization, physical inactivity, poverty and increasing popularity of western fast food diets. The result is widespread overweight and obesity, hypertension, cancer and other NCDs including diabetes.
Countermeasures are being taken by public health agencies in the region with strategies focusing on prevention, lifestyle modification, diabetes screening and surveillance and health and wellness media campaigns are heavily promoted on all media platforms. In the Bahamas the minister of health is particularly concerned that as many as 27 % of patients with foot ulcers seen in public health clinics were diabetics.