President David Granger has outlined a three-pronged approach aimed at reducing the incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). This includes countryside public information on the dangers of alcohol and tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity; promulgation of initiatives led by all sections of society especially the media, stakeholders in the entertainment industry and trade unions and a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach to implement prevention and control measures. The Head of State made these remarks at the launch of the Presidential Commission on NCDs at the Umana Yana Saturday, according to DPI.
The President will chair the Commission and will take the leading role to drive these approaches in an effort to reduce the prevalence of NCDs, particularly heart disease and diabetes, which plague the Guyanese society. “The Presidential Commission has a lot of work to do in these three areas and its work will be decisive in determining the extent to which we can enjoy a good life in Guyana… This Presidential Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases can succeed if it is based on better information, more initiatives on the part of all of society and the implementation of campaigns aimed mainly on our children. I would like to see a nation of happier children and healthier communities,” he said.
The Head of State pointed out that as a result of lifestyle and cultural carelessness, more than half of the country’s adult population suffer from a NCD. In fact, almost seven out of every ten deaths of Guyanese, aged 23-60 years, are caused by cancers, chronic lung diseases, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Additionally, uncontrolled use of tobacco and alcohol and poor eating habits has serious economic implications, particularly in rural and hinterland communities, DPI said.
In 2007, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened a special Regional Summit on NCDs Caribbean, which resulted in regional leaders issuing a fifteen-point declaration, known as the Declaration of Port-of-Spain. That Declaration urged the establishment of National Commissions on NCDs to plan and coordinate the comprehensive prevention and control of NCDs. In fulfilment of that Declaration, Guyana developed the Guyana Strategic Plan for the Integrated Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and their Risk Factors 2013-2020.
Subsequently, in 2014, the then Government established a National Commission for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. However, President Granger said that it would be impossible to ensure satisfactory standards of public health unless the highest priority was accorded to the prevention and control of NCDs.
Meanwhile, according to DPI, Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence, in her remarks informed that the report issued at the CARICOM Heads of Government Summit in July, revealed that Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago were ranked as first and second respectively, in terms of the prevalence and deaths as a result of heart disease and diabetes.