Robust Outreach Activities To Reduce The Incidence And Impact Of NCDs Have Realised Significant Returns

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 17, 2020 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health, having engaged in robust outreach activities to reduce the incidence and impact of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), has realised significant returns, says Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett.

Minister Byron-Nisbett announced this during the Budget presentation on The Appropriation (2021) Bill, 2020, on December 16.

“Our epidemiological statistics have revealed that over the period 2015 to 2020, the incidence of new cases of diabetes and hypertension has decreased by 46.9 percent for diabetes and 44.7 percent for hypertension,” she said. “Mr. Speaker, yes this is indeed incredible data.”

The Minister added that the average mortality data, that is, the number of deaths associated with diabetes and high blood pressure are notably trending downwards to 63 percent from 83 percent.

The Health Minister said that thanks should be given to the former Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, as this was realised under her leadership.

These results are indicative of the fact that the Ministry of Health is doing what it has promised to do, that is, influencing lifestyle changes, scaling-up screening, and detecting new cases of NCDs, and linking those cases to management and care, said Minister Byron-Nisbett.

This achievement can also be linked to the three-year Taiwanese-St. Kitts-Nevis Renal Kidney Programme, which concluded in April 2020.

The Minister announced upcoming projects that will help fight against Chronic Metabolic Diseases in the Federation.

“I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the start of a new project Capacity Building for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Metabolic Diseases in St. Christopher and Nevis, which is expected to be completed by April of 2024, will realise further significant benefits,” she said.

She added that “This project has been adopted from the World Health Organization (WHO) Chronic Care Model adopting three main approaches to reduce the impact of chronic diseases on the global health system. These are integrated care strategies and practices to strengthen health care capacity for the Chronic Metabolic Diseases at medical institutions and to enhance the public’s self-management capabilities relative to the metabolic diseases.”

Minister Byron-Nisbett noted that owing to the Government’s strong cooperation with the Taiwanese Government, the Ministry of Health has secured the additional vital services of a Volunteer Diabetes Educator from Taiwan, who has been working closely with the staff of the Health Promotion Unit and engaging in outreach at community Health Centres to empower persons with diabetes to successfully manage their condition.

“These initiatives have added immense value to the health sector resulting in the decreased numbers of persons with diabetes who would normally rely on the system for care,” she said.

The Minister of Health said that her Ministry will endeavour to complete several key initiatives by the end of 2021 to mitigate against NCDs.

“These include the reactivation of the NCD Commission, an entity that will provide oversight of the prevention and management of NCDs in the Federation and the development of the National Tobacco Control Act aimed at reducing the use of tobacco products in the Federation since such products confer a high predisposition to the onsets of NCDs,” she said.

Minister Byron-Nisbett noted that the Ministry’s success of the SKN Moves, which was launched in August 2020, has been instrumental in its initiative to address the onset of NCDs through increased physical activities and exercise, capitalizing on healthier food choices, and engaging in regular medical health checks. She added that in 2021 SKN Moves will be more visible across the Federation.

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