Thu | Sep 21, 2017

‘Jamaica Moves’ presented to Commonwealth health ministers

Published:Tuesday | May 23, 2017 | 5:00 AM
Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Winston De La Haye.

Jamaica's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye, on Sunday made his presentation at the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The presentation, which focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the impact they have on the region, also focused on the island's national response to NCDs - Jamaica Moves.

De La Haye pointed out that NCDs are a leading public-health threat in Jamaica, and in the past 10 years, there has been an increase in the prevalence of these diseases and related deaths. In 2014, preliminary data revealed that NCDs, specifically cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes, accounted for 68 per cent of all deaths in the country. The survey further revealed that by 2030, the prevalence of diabetes among persons between ages 15-74 years is expected to increase by 47 per cent.

While he noted that the survey revealed figures that were damning, the magnitude of this epidemic remains largely hidden.

"It is projected that many of the people who will die from NCDs in the next 20 years will be today's young to middle-age adults. As it is, we are starting our journey towards curbing the trend of avoidable untimely deaths and the high public health costs caused by NCDs," De La Haye said.

 

JAMAICA NOT FAR BEHIND

 

On World Health Day (April 7, 2017), the Ministry of Health launched Jamaica Moves - the country's coordinated national response to the increased incidence of NCDs. Through education, engagement and the building of supportive environments, the programme hopes to reduce NCDs by 25 per cent by the year 2025.

"Physical inactivity has a major health impact on the world and elimination of physical inactivity would remove between six and 10 per cent of these major NCDs and increase life expectancy," De La Haye noted.

This has become increasingly important given that approximately 70 per cent of deaths in Jamaica are due to the four major NCDs - coronary heart disease, Type Two diabetes, breast and colon cancers, with 35 per cent of these deaths occurring below age 70.