Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton (right), emphasises a point at a post-United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) press conference held at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Monday (October 8). At left is Head, Health Promotion & Protection Division, Ministry of Health, Dr Simone Spence. (Photo: JIS)
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, says world leaders who participated in the third United Nations (UN) High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have committed to taking steps to tackle the issue.
“The NCD crisis is real and a danger to all of us. The statistics suggest that close to four billion of the seven-billion population of the world are afflicted by one NCD or another,” he noted.
“I think coming out of that (meeting), was a general consensus around the need to create a unified approach and message around the crisis of obesity in our countries and work together, not to replace initiatives that… countries were already pursuing, but to understand more of what each of us is doing, strengthen where we can, through collaboration, so that the message of prevention is a first line of defence to deal with this NCD epidemic,” Tufton said.
He was addressing a press conference at his New Kingston offices on Monday to provide details about the meeting held in New York on September 27 as part of the United Nations General Assembly.
The meeting included a comprehensive review of the global and national progress achieved in putting measures in place that protect people from dying too young from conditions such as heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.
Tufton said there was endorsement of Jamaica Moves and Caribbean Moves.
Jamaica Moves is part of the National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which covers seven main categories of diseases – cardiovascular conditions, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, sickle cell, mental health disorders and chronic renal failure.
The health minister informed that the world leaders, at the meeting, emphasised the need to change the culture and behaviour of persons.
“That is why we here in Jamaica have placed so much emphasis on the preventative side, because we believe that the curative side is going to be prohibitively expensive. Coming out of that launch of Caribbean Moves, we felt that there was sufficient evidence to support our initiatives and efforts,” he noted.
Tufton said there will be increased focus on trans-fats and sodium based on their contribution to obesity and hypertension.
“Those two areas, over time, will get greater attention as part of the preventative measures. It is in keeping with the global thrust to look at diet as part of the holistic approach to dealing with health and wellness,” he said.