CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – “The increased mortality burden associated with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean region is due to the rise in risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets,” explained Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) for the September 12 observance of Caribbean Wellness Day.
Caribbean Wellness Day is a special day for health mandated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Port-of-Spain Declaration on NCD’s in 2007. Today it is celebrated under the theme, “Power through Collective Action – “Stronger Together.”
“The prevalence of NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease, continues to surge globally. These diseases are linked to more than 70 percent of deaths in the region, which is similar to the current global average,” said Hon. Brandy-Williams.
“Due to the rising cost of NCD’s, the conversation has advanced into a Global Health Policy Agenda, and have now expanded to include a coalition of actors working on different policy approaches for their prevention and control,” she said. “This year’s theme encourages us to work together collectively in addressing some of these complex health and social problems associated with NCD’s.
“Collective Action encompasses ideas of community empowerment. This requires people individually and collectively to acquire the knowledge, understanding, skills, and commitment to improve the societal structures that have such a powerful influence on people’s health status.”
The Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs continues to agitate for collectively investing, coordinating, and promoting policies that make people healthy,” the minister said. “This in turn will create a healthy population. We continue to partner with other stakeholders in supporting health and wellness activities which aim at preventing and mitigating the impact of NCD’s on our society.”
The Health Promotion Unit initiated a series of activities, virtual and otherwise, in celebration of Caribbean Wellness Week, which culminates today with a wellness walk.
The minister’s aim is to encourage individuals, families, and communities to be more proactive and more engaged in active healthy living.
“We continue to remind our people to consume less sugar and salt, drink more water, move more, sit less, get sufficient rest, and limit your alcohol intake,” said Hon. Jeffers. “Most important, make exercise a daily habit. In the fight against NCD’s, we don’t have to go it alone.”
Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” There is power through collective action – we are stronger together.
Let us celebrate Caribbean Wellness Day by moving together!