Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said he and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had had a "small discussion" before she reshuffled her Cabinet because she "heard I always wanted to go back to my private practice".
Speaking to the Express on Saturday, Khan, who retained his ministerial portfolio when the Cabinet changes were announced on Friday evening, said:
"My private practice is my life; it's what I'm good at. I have no plans to quit the Ministry any time soon. I need to reorganise the Nursing Council in this country to make it more user-friendly so more nurses will be available to be placed in the system so that's my plan for the next couple months."
Khan delivered the feature address at the Diabetes Association's annual Diabetes Symposium at the University of Trinidad and Tobago's O'Meara Campus on Saturday.
He proposed a new "Save Your Limbs" campaign to decrease the number of amputations caused by complications from diabetes.
"Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage as a result of diabetes) affects up to 50 per cent of people with the disease. Together with reduced blood flow, neuropathy in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers and eventual limb amputation. In fact, diabetes is the most common reason for amputation of limbs that is not the result of an accident," Khan said.
He said diabetics could stop amputations by being vigilant, for example, getting customised orthopaedic shoes that won't pinch nerves and cause problems.
Khan also emphasised the importance of diet and exercise, especially for children, being more vigilant about letting them be influenced by fast food advertising.
Khan said a 2010 survey of body mass index (BMI) by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute revealed childhood obesity is on the rise, with approximately one quarter of primary and secondary school children overweight or obese. He added that UWI data indicated alarming levels of diabetes and elevated blood pressure among primary- and secondary- school aged children.
"The Ministry of Health offers chronic disease management clinics at all Regional Health Authority facilities. I urge all citizens to take responsibility for his or her health and make preventive health care a part of your family's life to control the risk factors for diabetes," Khan said.