World leaders join new drive to beat non-communicable diseases

 WHO is announcing today a new high-level commission, comprised of heads of state and ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs. The group will propose bold and innovative solutions to accelerate prevention and control of the leading killers on the planet – noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart and lung disease, cancers, and diabetes.

The WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on NCDs is co-chaired by President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay; President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka; President Sauli Niinistö of Finland; Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation; and Sania Nishtar, former Federal Minister of Pakistan.

Seven in 10 deaths globally every year are from NCDs, the main contributors to which are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. More than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 70 years die from NCDs annually. Low- and lower-middle income countries are increasingly affected, with half of premature deaths from NCDs occurring in those countries. Many lives can be saved from NCDs through early diagnosis and improved access to quality and affordable treatment, as well as a whole-of-government approach to reduce the main risk factors.

Read more at: World Health Organisation

Saint Lucia Ministry of Health to regulate sale of soft drinks

soft drinkThe Ministry of Health and Wellness (of Saint Lucia) is embarking on a campaign to discontinue the sale of soda pop, or soft drinks on school compounds.

The highly sweetened fizzy drink is known to have disastrous effects on health. Regular consumption of soda is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, cavities among others.

On Nov. 23, Chief Nutritionist Lisa Hunt Mitchell hosted one of several meetings with school principals from Districts 5, 6 and 7 to discuss the best way to reduce the consumption of soda among the youth. She said the intention is not to place a hole in the pockets of the local manufacturers, but instead, to ensure a healthier nation.

“We are aware of the negative impacts of soft drinks, so the Ministry of Health is engaging school principals, so that they can be supportive in trying to curtail the sale of soft drinks at the schools. We want to encourage the children to drink more water, instead of juices or soft drinks. Sweetened beverages are bad for the health in general, but soft drinks have added ingredients such as caffeine, phosphoric acid, and colourings that are far worse. These ingredients have very negative effects on the health.”

Read more at: Government of Saint Lucia

Urgent action required to curb chronic NCDs – PM Harris

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 11, 2017 (SKNIS):  Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) continue to take a toll on CARICOM Member States, and urgent action is required to curb the threat of such diseases, said Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during National Assembly on Tuesday, July 11.

Prime Minister Harris was updating the general public and the listening audience on the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, held in Grenada from July 4-6, where he was given the opportunity to present a study on the economic ramifications of NCDs as it relates to Trinidad and Tobago. A similar study was also done in Barbados and Jamaica.

“The study estimated that five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is being lost by the impact of preventable diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Half of that five per cent is direct medical care cost and the other half is in the loss of productivity,” said Prime Minister Harris, adding that if one was to examine the growth pattern of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region over the last 10 plus years, they would not find that the country would have grown by five percent.

“Therefore, when in fact five per cent of the economy is being impacted negatively with respect to NCDs, this is a major cause for concern. The costs here are significant and they are as unsustainable for any country. Importantly, these diseases are preventable impediments to growth.”


CARICOM Heads renew commitment to tackle NCDs

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Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have given a renewed commitment to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in their countries. The matter was raised by  Prime Minister Mitchell during the closing press conference of the  38th CARICOM Summit, in Grand Anse, Grenada. In speaking to the issue, Prime Minister Mitchell  highlighted that it had been 10 years since the historic Port-of-Spain Declaration on NCDs.

The Grenadian Prime Minister said the Heads were aware that the Region had  fallen behind in the battle against these deadly diseases and also in fulfilling the goals of the declaration.  He said one of the most alarming signs was the high incidents of childhood obesity, a major risk factor for NCDs

“We simply cannot afford to continue the lifestyle and food consumption patterns which are literally killing us”, he said.