Lifestyles illnesses robbing people of years

June 09, 2023

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says that life expectancy is on the decline in Jamaica, due to people getting sicker than they used to a decade ago.

"While life expectancy is at 75 years, a lot of Jamaicans are dying long before they get to 75. Too many of us are making choices with what we eat, physical activity, rest and consumption habits that are causing us to get ill earlier," the minister added. He was addressing journalists as the Ministry of Health and Wellness hosted another 'Know Your Numbers' campaign, at Stewart's Hardware in May Pen, on Wednesday.

Scores of persons benefitted from health screening. Services offered included blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body mass index, HIV, and prostate specific antigen tests, digital rectal examination and pap smear. Patrons also received dental screening as part of the 'Second Chance Smiles' campaign, which is a denture-replacement programme for persons aged 18 to 60 years old.

"This exercise will save the lives of a number of Jamaicans or prevent a number of Jamaicans from going into major illness," stated Tufton. Noting that he was pleased with the turnout of persons seeking to know their health status, he said the information will help them to adjust their lifestyles, and to "live healthier, longer and have a better quality of life".

Tufton said that the ministry, through the 'Know Your Numbers' campaign, is creating an opportunity for workers, business people and the general public to be able to do the screenings in a comfortable and welcoming environment.

More than 500,000 health screenings are expected be done during the 2023/2024 financial year, under an initiative aimed at encouraging Jamaicans to do regular health checks to reduce premature death, and getting people screened at least once annually to know their status and to take the necessary steps to modify their behaviour to reduce illness.

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