SAINT LUCIA, Castries: St. Lucian’s with limb amputations will be the focus of a new initiative to help improve their quality of life by providing a program of sports, recreation and help with rehabilitation.
The chAMPS program focusing on people with disabilities in the form of limb amputations is being launched in St Lucia supported by the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) and run by the Sacred Sports Foundation Inc (SSF).
“We are delighted to be assisting the local people with amputations,” said Nova Alexander, Executive Director of Sacred Sports Foundation. “With the help of the Australian High Commission and support from a number of local stakeholders the chAMPS program will engage a little thought of but sizeable population and provide an innovative new inclusive community program aimed at shedding popular negative stereotypes”.
chAMPS is an adaptive sports, recreation and rehabilitation program specifically targeting people who have become physically disabled, primarily due to amputation caused by diabetes and hypertension and will provide a structured sports-based rehabilitation program, public education campaign and accompanying limb care awareness workshops.
Diabetes is among the leading causes of morbidity, with 40% of Caribbean death resulting from cardiovascular diseases related to hypertension and diabetes. St. Lucia recorded 131 amputees in 2013 and 100 in 2014. There were 13,300 reported cases of diabetes in St Lucia in 2015 and by May 2015, there were already 41 limbs amputated due in large part to the obesity ravaging ailment.
The Australian High Commissioner in Port of Spain, John Pilbeam reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to further advancing the rights of people with disabilities. “Australia, through its Direct Aid Program, has been working for many years now to improve the lives of disabled people in St Lucia. We are pleased now to team-up with Sacred Sports Foundation in launching chAMPS, a sports, recreation and rehabilitation program to help St Lucia’s amputees enjoy fuller lives”.
chAMPS overriding objective is to enhance the quality of life, improve overall health and provide opportunities to become re-engaged within their communities through a variety of adaptive activities, including physical education and inclusive community interaction.
SSF has joined forces with the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development’s Special Needs Unit, St. Judes and Victoria hospitals, The St. Lucia Diabetes & Hypertension Association and the National Council of and for People with Disabilities.