Dr Kathleen Sangster-Singh, left, collects a donation of medication from Kahir Foundation president Imtiaz Mohammed at her Scarbrough offices on Saturday. Looking on are Kahir Foundation members Kenneth Ramgoolie, second from left and Wayne Balkaran.

Lifestyle diseases are on the rise in Tobago. The warning came from Dr Kathleen Sangster-Singh after she received $70,000 worth of medication from the Khair Foundation and The Islamic Development Bank.

Speaking at her Scarborough, Tobago offices, Sangster-Singh said diabetes, hypertension and obesity are becoming prevalent on the sister island.

Sangster-Singh said lifestyle diseases are taking their toll on Tobagonians. However, she said most of these diseases can be prevented through proper diet and exercise.

Kahir Foundation president Imtiaz Mohammmed said they were in December and this was the second phase of their COVID-19 Relief Project in T&T. Funding for the distribution programme is coming from the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank.

“Khair Foundation and The Islamic Development Bank have been working together since December 2020 and successfully completed phase one of their COVID-19 Relief Project, which entailed the distribution of 5,000 food hampers throughout Trinidad and Tobago,” Mohammed said.

“Khair Foundation would like to express our deepest gratitude to The Islamic Development Bank of Saudi Arabia and all those people locally who supported this project. May God bless us all!”

Mohammed said a total of $720,000 in medication will be distributed to 17 doctors across T&T, adding the foundation had partnered with Sangster-Singh and Dr Stephanie Tam, both of whom are located in Western Tobago. He said they also tried to partner with doctors in Tobago East but learnt that no doctors are in private practice in that area. Mohammed said the foundation reached out to private doctors rather than regional health authorities to prevent bureaucracy and allow for accountability.

“We want the medication to reach the targeted persons who cannot afford to purchase their medication. We prefer to go with the private doctors where the bureaucracy is almost nil and we have doctors strategically located to make medication easily accessible to those in need,” Mohammed said.

He said people seeking to get medication would need to get referral letters from their doctors before drugs are dispensed to safeguard the doctor’s practice. He said Dr Wahid Mohammed had advised the foundation on what drugs to purchase from local suppliers. He said there are 125 different types of medication to treat a range of ailments, adding the medication should last two months and benefit around 13,000 people.

Sangster-Singh said she has been practicing in Tobago since 1990, adding many people on the island cannot afford medication.

The names, addresses, telephone numbers and office hours of the doctors involved in the drive was published in the three daily newspapers yesterday and will be repeated on Wednesday (March 10). —With reporting by Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant