by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Global Week of Action on Non-Communicable Diseases 2023 runs from September 14 to 21 under the theme “Bridging the Care Gap” and a global message “Now is the moment for caring.”
The Prime Minister of St.Kitts and Nevis Dr. Terrance Drew said combating NCDs and the establishment of Universal Health Coverage are priorities for the Government.
“Our Government recognises that the time to act on NCDs and Universal Health Coverage is now. I believe that healthcare must be accessible to all. Everyone in the Federation should have access to health services when and where they need them without financial hardship. Universal Healthcare coverage is one of our priorities. To this end, our Government is in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation PAHO and experts from the University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus is in the process of Establishing a National Health Insurance scheme, whereby a package of essential health services including NCDs Management and Care will be made accessible to everyone in the Federation. The implementation of NHI (National Health Insurance) scheme will be just one intervention to combat the NCD challenge.”
Non-Communicable diseases include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are causing major health challenges around the world. In the region, NCDs are the leading cause of morbidity, likewise, St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Non-communicable diseases NCDs account for 80.7 % of all deaths in the Americas, with the Caribbean showing the highest rates. More than a third or 36.2 % of NCD deaths in the region of the Americas occurred prematurely in persons younger than 70 years, equivalent to 2.1 million deaths in 2029. In St. Kitts and Nevis, the situation is similar . The NCDs, Diabetes and Hypertension are the leading causes of morbidity in the Federation. Between 2017 and 2021 , NCD’s accounted for 84.2 % of the deaths reported. NCDs are our biggest health challenge and we must combat this health problem now,” Dr. Drew stated.
To raise awareness about NCDs, the Ministry of Health has implemented several initiatives including SKN Moves, public education, health promotion campaigns and health screenings etc.
Prime Minister Drew made a commitment to continue investing in resources to treat individuals diagnosed with NCDs and forge new partnerships with NGOs and civil society to form an integrated approach in reducing the prevalence of NCDs.