Health ministry targets NCDs reduction


April 11, 2016

The Ministry of Health is targeting a five per cent reduction in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity among Jamaicans by 2018, under its National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCD).

The increased incidence of NCD is a worrying concern for Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who notes that diabetes, in particular, continues to negatively affect the society.

"Statistics show that in 2013, diabetes was the second leading cause of death among Jamaicans, five years old and over," he said.

In highlighting its adverse effects, Tufton said that over time, diabetes "can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves, causing chronic health complications and early death."

Data provided by the ministry indicates, however, that approximately nine out of 10 diabetes cases diagnosed locally can be avoided through weight control, exercise, a healthy diet, and smoking abstention.

Tufton's observations were shared in a speech read by the Ministry's Director of Health Promotion and Protection Dr Sonia Copeland during a public forum at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston last Thursday to mark World Health Day 2016.

heighten awareness

The forum was organised by the ministry, under the theme 'Reversing Diabetes: A Possibility or A Dream', to heighten awareness about simple steps that can be taken to prevent and manage the disease. It featured an exhibition, food sampling, screenings, and presentations by representatives of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica and the Pan American Health Organisation.

The forum also included a panel discussion on various management and treatment methods for diabetes. The World Health Organisation commemorates World Health Day annually to highlight a single medical challenge that has global impact.

This year, the focus was on diabetes, which affects one out of every xthree adults in countries across the world.

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