Categorized | National News

Health Survey Launched On NCD’s

The Ministry of Health officially launched its 2019 STEPS wise Health Survey, with the aim and intent of collecting data on health habits, and prevalence of risk factors for Non-communicable Diseases.

This is the third such round for The Bahamas, having conducted the same survey in 2005 and 2012, making The Bahamas the only country in  the Americas to have participated in more than one round of the STEPS study. 

Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands said the health survey is a powerful tool that will allow for a better understanding in chartering the course in the health sector.

“At  the  CARICOM Port-of-Spain meeting in 2007, with Heads Of Government, it was projected that by 2030 the death rate of people dying from non-communicable diseases would increase by 300 percent. 

“Countries  in the Region of the Americas, including our Caribbean nations are moving full steam ahead to achieve this frightening target, a hard, but real pill to swallow,” Dr. Sands said. 

According to the Ministry of Health, NCD’s account for 74 percent of deaths in the country, also contributing to the increased expenditure in the health sector. 

The STEPS survey, which is anticipated to have almost 4,000 Bahamians between the age 18 to 69 volunteer, began in Family Islands yesterday and will begin in New Providence on January 21. 

Dr. Sands said that the hope is each participant sees it as an “opportunity to be an integral part of the solution to our health ills.

“We believe this study will have significant value in charting our course in the health sector as a nation. 

“Its findings will, in part, map our collective progress related to the specific NCD risk factors. Of interest, it will also break new ground, generating novel baseline data on national salt intake and oral health practices; as well as determining our population’s specific risk for cardiovascular disease. 

“Findings from this study will enhance our ability to report on several local and international indicators, such as those in the NCD’s Global Monitoring Framework and for the Sustainable Development Goals,” Dr. Sands said. 

Family Islands that have been selected to participate in the STEPS study include Abaco, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama and Inagua. 

Dr. Sands noted that this will allow for a cross section of Bahamians to be surveyed. 


“The islands selected and the persons selected on those islands are intended to give a representative cross sampling of Bahamians and Bahamian behavior. 

“What  we don’t want is a situation where you get data and there are implicit biases or methodologic errors  that you cannot use the data to say this is representative of The Bahamas. 

“What we’d like to know, for better for worse, is how many of us are overweight, how many of us are obese, how many of us have high blood pressure, how many of us have diabetes, how many of us exercise, how much water do we drink, what is our salt intake like, [and] oral health practices are,” Dr. Sands said.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillain said that those who have been selected to conduct the survey are trained individuals and encourages those who may be selected to fully participate. 


“We have partnered with the Department of Statistics, which conduct national surveys regularly so having done that we would benefit from methodology that they utilize to conduct national surveys, and now we are doing it with STEP survey, which also incorporates the methodology behind it from WHO. 

“We would really like to encourage people to participate, because  for the data to be represented, we need participation. 

“So, when persons come knocking to your door, please open the door, allow them in, listen to the questions and then continue with the survey,” Dr. McMillain said. 

Other partners include the University of The Bahamas, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Written by Jones Bahamas

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