Ministry of Health to ratchet up the delivery of communications, to better educate and make people more accountable for their well-being

(PRESS SEC) — At the first in a series of town hall meetings titled Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity held on Tuesday, January 24th, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, Senator and Minister of State within the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services, focused on the importance of having “a true partnership in healthcare for 2017” with the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“That partnership in healthcare, from where we sit, has to be taken in light of what the Government provides for you in terms of services, skills and the expertise provided by the staff to run the Ministry of Health, but at the same time we expect you to do your part in terms of policing your health,” Minister Phipps told the receptive crowd that filled the room and the adjacent hallways at the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School in Molineux last Tuesday. In addition to the large audience at the school, people tuned in to ZIZ TV and ZIZ Radio, as well as online to view the live streaming on both and the Facebook page of the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS).

Minister Phipps also told the audience last Tuesday that the 10th Anniversary of the historic Port-of-Spain Declaration ‘Uniting to fight the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’ would be celebrated this year. The Port-of-Spain Declaration of September 15th, 2007 was made at a special Regional Summit on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) held in the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government declared the second Saturday in September “Caribbean Wellness Day” to commemorate that landmark summit.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are non-infectious or non-transmissible diseases as opposed to communicable, infectious or transmissible diseases, such as Influenza (also known as the flu) and HIV/AIDS. NCDs are categorized into four main types, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). They are cardiovascular diseases (that can cause heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who is lead spokesman for CARICOM on Human Resources, Health and HIV/AIDS, has said that, “It is essential that more is invested in education to promote healthier lives and healthier food choices, as well as to help people make the right lifestyle choices, because several of these non-communicable diseases are preventable.” Dr. Harris made this declaration before the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, September 24th, 2016.

The Minister of State within the Ministry of Health et al., the Honourable Wendy Phipps, echoed the same sentiments at last Tuesday’s town hall meeting when she noted that NCDs are the leading cause of death in St. Kitts and Nevis, “as is the case with the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean and with the rest of the Spanish and French Caribbean.”

Minister Phipps added that, “We are making an appeal to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, especially starting this year, that we need to do a better job of partnership when it comes to healthcare. As a result of that, the Ministry in its budget for 2017 has made a decision that we will ratchet up or improve the delivery of healthcare-type information to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

The Honourable Wendy Phipps continued: “In other words, we have to take the fight to where you are. By that, I also mean that we have to have more efforts and programs directed out of the health centres in order to make sure that health education is improved, whether it is by speaking and counseling through literature, panel discussions, video presentations, and forums…in terms of getting us to understand how important it is for us to live healthier lives.”

The public is invited to attend the second in a series of town hall meetings titled Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31st, at the Cayon Community Centre from 7:30pm, to hear more about the Team Unity Government’s policies and how they will empower the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.

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