Call for action against NCDs
One health official today called for urgent action to be taken to curb the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), noting that they will account for up to 86.3 percent of all deaths in Barbados by the year 2030.
The call came from senior medical officer, Dr Leslie Rollock, who delivered an address this morning on behalf of Minister of Health John Boyce, to mark to occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Crest Medical Centre.
“The 2014 annual report for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases for the Barbados National Registry noted that almost 90 per cent of acute Myocardial Infarction patients also have hypertension, and almost 45 percent are obese.
“These projected trends are very disconcerting. Not only in Barbados but universally, these NCDs have been recognised as a major threat to health, economies and societies.
“Socio-economic progress has created conditions that favour the rise of these NCDs and we are therefore witnessing changes which require us to think broadly and to act comprehensively,” Dr Rollock said.
She added that the rise of NCDs has been thrust into the spotlight with the recent spate of sudden deaths.
“These sudden deaths, mostly occurring in public places, left Barbadians unnerved and calling for investigations into their cause. However, according to our information, the majority of these deaths were the result of non-communicable diseases which were either poorly controlled, undiagnosed or untreated,” she said, noting that NCDs can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
“While it is clear that the health care sector is the major player in the fight against NCDs, we are by no means the only player in the battle.
“Since healthy living starts with each one of us, I also want to use this occasion to implore all of you to do your part in adopting heathy lifestyle habits in order to stay healthy and active into old age,” Dr Rollock told the gathering.
Dr Rollock said the Ministry of Health has taken a number of initiatives to help individuals and families better take charge of their health.
She pointed to the production and dissemination of food-based dietary guidelines, as well as guidelines for healthy and nutritious food in schools and age-specific guidelines for physical activity and exercise.
These initiatives, she noted, are in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, 2013-2020 which was signed by member states and includes a set of targets for reducing the major risk factors of obesity, high blood pressure, tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and salt intake.
Dr Rollock also called on public and private health care providers to work closer together “as one integrated health care system” to cater to the country’s growing needs.
She noted that the Sandy Crest Medical Centre “has done well in this respect”, offering emergency, urgent and family care medicine, as well as playing “a critical role in delivering health services thereby taking some of the burden off the emergency sector and the polyclinics”.