The top diseases in the Bahamas are hypertensive disease, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. These diseases account for the high mortality rates in the country and affect the overall health of Bahamians.
- Hypertension was the leading cause of death for Bahamians in 2011 resulting in 215 deaths, which is a decrease in the number of deaths from 2008, which stood at 993. Hypertension preventative measures have been implemented in the Bahamas and a national campaign was launched in 2013 promoting good habits for controlling blood pressure.
- Ischemic heart disease, or coronary heart disease, has been considered one of the top diseases in the Bahamas and resulted in 180 deaths in 2011. The country’s department of statistics has reported that more than 24 percent of all deaths in the Bahamas are directly related to heart disease.
- Cerebrovascular diseases accounted for 130 deaths and have been another of the top diseases in the Bahamas, especially among women. Cerebrovascular diseases are considered more life-threatening, even though hypertensive diseases are the number one cause of death.
- HIV/AIDS has been prevalent in the Bahamas and ranks fifth on the list of top diseases in the Bahamas with a mortality of 121 deaths, according to a 2011 report by the Bahamas government. This is considered an epidemic, and there is currently no cure. The Bahamas, along with its AIDS Secretariat, is working vigorously to promote preventative measures and proper health measures for those living with this disease. Recently, the Linkages Project in conjunction with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun the groundwork of linking across the Continuum of HIV Services for Key Populations Affected by HIV project. This project is aimed at accelerating the ability of partner governments, key population-led civil society organizations and private-sector providers to plan, deliver and optimize comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment services to reduce HIV transmission among key populations and help those living with the disease to live longer.
- Diabetes, another top disease in the Bahamas, affects 34,900 Bahamians and can lead to death, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The mortality of this disease in 2011 was 86 deaths per year. Diabetes can lead to other complications and result in similar symptoms to the other top diseases in the Bahamas.
These diseases all have a major impact on the health of the Bahamian people, and health providers continue to promote healthy lifestyles and to lobby for affordable, all-inclusive national health plans to combat their impact.
– Rochelle R. Dean