Guyana is winning the battle against chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which is still a “growing health crisis” in the Caribbean Public health Minister Volda Lawrence and PAHO/WHO Representative Dr William Adu-Krow said recently.
Lawrence and Adu-Krow made the observation while addressing a one-day ‘Capacity building workshop for members of the Presidential Commission for NCDs Prevention and Control’ held at the Marriott Hotel in the capital under the auspices of the Public Health Ministry, PAHO/WHO and the Health Caribbean Coalition (HCC).
In her keynote address Lawrence reminded that Caribbean continues to be “burdened by the prevalence of NCDs which account for 8 out of 10 deaths (80 per cent), and where 40 per cent of our deaths occur prematurely before the age of 70.
“This is a critical moment for the Region as we witness the adverse health and economic effects of NCDs, and it is therefore imperative that at both the national and regional levels, we take bold, decisive and urgent action to reverse the trend and slow down the threat of the NCD epidemic” the Minister said.
When the Presidential Commission on NCDs was launched at the end of 2017, President David Granger who is its Chairman challenged the nation to prioritise health and make lifetime-based interventions leading to reduction of the main modifiable risk factors for NCDs namely tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Lawrence repeated these sentiments Wednesday
“It is our people’s health and lives that are at stake and if we are to counter the adverse effects on our people’s health and economic life, there is need to reach out to our communities and initiate the fight there against the chronic non-communicable diseases,” she told the audience.
Adu-Krow who outlined the local NCDs challenges said Guyana nevertheless a lot has been done in a short time and the country is “winning the battle”.
The national Commission for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases is the advisory body to Cabinet on NCD matters and risk factors with responsibility for the oversight of the implementation of the 2013-2020 NCDs strategy. The local public and private sectors, international organisations and a number of other bodies comprise the Commission which is chaired by President Granger.