Jamaica’s Health Minister Encourages Neighbouring Countries to Replicate Island’s Campaign Against NCDs

Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton (right), speaks with (from left): President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition, Sir Trevor Hassell; Director, Non-Communicable Diseases and Injury Prevention, Ministry of Health, Dr. Tamu Davidson; and Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacqueline McKenzie, at the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s Caribbean Non-communicable Disease Forum. (Photo Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Saturday April 28, 2018
– Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton is encouraging other Caribbean countries to join forces and replicate the Jamaica Moves campaign into Caribbean Moves, with the objective of reducing the region’s growing rate of persons living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Jamaica Moves is part of the National Strategy 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 campaign also focuses on community-level interventions to facilitate increased physical activity among the population.

Speaking at the recent Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s (HCC) Caribbean NCD Forum, Dr Tufton said the Ministry of Health has seen positive results and increased participation among Jamaicans in healthy lifestyle activities since the launch of Jamaica Moves one year ago.

He told the gathering, including delegates from other Caribbean islands, that the region has been successful in combating vaccine-preventable diseases, reducing maternal and infant mortality and premature death due to HIV/AIDS, through collaborations over the years.

The Minister said the same can be done in the fight against NCDs with a campaign aimed at overcoming the epidemic.

“Our efforts here in Jamaica, including the Jamaica Moves efforts, serve as a platform for a ‘Caribbean Moves’ that shows regional commitment focused on tackling the NCD epidemic from a preventative perspective in the first instance,” he said.

He noted that Caribbean leadership was central to the movement that galvanised the world towards the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases, and that the Caribbean had the first ever political commitment in the world to fight the NCD epidemic in 2007.

Dr Tufton encouraged the delegates representing islands in the Caribbean to accelerate implementation of NCD responses that were previously agreed, to meet regional and global targets.

“Political leadership and commitment are critical elements for success in tackling the NCD epidemic, along with the investment in a package of cost-effective interventions with a focus on prevention,” he said.

The HCC’s Caribbean NCD Forum, a multi-stakeholder civil society-led meeting, brought together diverse groups of approximately 100 stakeholders, including representatives from civil society, the Government and the private sector of the different Caribbean islands, with the aim of mobilizing regional civil society organizations and other key stakeholders to ensure the Caribbean is fully engaged in the third United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs.

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