Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson (left), shares with (from left): Member of Jamaica’s National Senior Netball Team, Vanessa Walker; Project Manager, HEART Foundation of Jamaica, Barbara McGaw; and Director of Sales, Employee Benefits, Sagicor Life Jamaica Ltd, Desmon Jangalee.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- The ministry of health has implemented a five-year strategic plan aimed at tackling the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica.
Portfolio minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, said the plan will address the four major conditions causing death and illness among Jamaicans, namely cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease.
He said the programme will also tackle the four major risk factors for NCDs, which are physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, harmful use of alcohol, and tobacco use.
Ferguson, who was speaking at the launch of the Wellfest Family Fair 2013 on October 25, said the government will continue to place great emphasis on the reduction of NCDs in Jamaica, noting that the problem poses a threat to national development.
NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions and cancer, account for some 36 million deaths each year globally, and are the leading cause of death and illness in Jamaica. Statistics show that in 2009, NCDs accounted for approximately 60 percent of deaths among men and 75 percent of deaths among women.
“What is of great concern is that more and more people are developing these conditions at a much younger age, because of unhealthy lifestyle choices. As policy makers, we have to put strategies in place to combat the incidence of these debilitating illnesses to improve the health of our population,” he stated.
Ferguson said a “whole society approach” is needed to tackle the problem, including Government, civil society and the private sector.
“The aim of the ministry is to build alliances with various groups to promote physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing, which will enhance the quality of life of the Jamaican people by empowering individuals and communities to make good decisions for their health,” he remarked.
He therefore welcomed the Wellfest Family Fair, noting that the event is in line with the objectives of the ministry, as it recognises the critical importance of health in facilitating the general wellbeing of any society.
“We welcome partnerships like these as the government alone is unable to address all the health needs of the population,” he remarked.