Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — An alarm has been raised about the growing numbers of cases of juvenile diabetes and youth incapacitated by accident injury.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas is of the view that no discussion on the issue of development can progress without reference to the area of health and in particular the chronic illnesses that continue to plague Caribbean societies with resultant loss of lives, thus retarding our developmental thrust.
Dr. Douglas, who addressed a Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases and Disability, held in collaboration with several Permanent Missions, CARICOM Secretariat, PAHO/WHO and the NCD Alliance, within the margins of the recent 68th General Assembly of the United Nations, told world leader the forum was designed to bring focused attention on creating synergies between NCDs and disabilities and examine how health systems can be reoriented and reinforced to ensure to equitable access to high quality care and thus advancing development.
“From this forum we were able to confirm that NCDs are not only driven by ageing. The high incidence of NCDs within the Caribbean also places an increased burden on our open economies, which are highly vulnerable to external shocks and natural disasters, diverting resources which can be allocated to building quality infrastructure and our precious human capital,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who said that in accept the recommendation of the Report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development, “urgent steps must be taken to reverse the trends.”
“We cannot lose sight of non-communicable diseases and the real threat that they pose to societies across the globe. Much work has been undertaken by the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and other regional bodies to reverse the high incidence of NCDs in our region,” said Dr. Douglas, pointing out that there is now a strong emphasis on testing – since the collection of empirical data is key to proper tracking and analysis.
“The preparation of strategic plans and budgets; and the incorporation of families and communities in education, prevention, and detection programs, are all pivotal in this regard. It is evident that there is a strong nexus between a nation’s health status and its levels of productivity and therefore my delegation subscribes to the notion that a nation’s wealth lies in the health of its people,” he said.
Prime Minister Douglas said there are practical lessons to be learned from the experience developed by agencies such as UNAIDS and PAHO, which have touched the lives of millions in a positive manner and it is therefore important for this international body to keep on the front burner a practical strategy to address the high incidence of NCDs within the Caribbean region and the nations of the world.