The National Task Force on Wellness, in conjunction with the National Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Commission, is currently developing a strategic plan to address the challenge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Barbados.
News of this came from Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, who said the plan would guide interventions over the next five years.
Speaking at an extravaganza to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Barbados National Registry last weekend, Dr. George said the task force and commission would focus on community-based prevention and intervention in order to reduce the main risk factors for the development of NCDs.
This was critical, he submitted, because strong medical evidence has shown that the prevention of NCDs through healthy lifestyle choices was the most cost-effective and sustainable way to tackle this problem.
Statistics reveal that one-third of all adults in Barbados have a non-communicable disease, with hypertension being the most common. Additionally, more than 80 per cent of all adult Barbadians have at least one risk factor, which includes obesity, tobacco smoking, poor diet and lack of physical activity and exercise.
According to the Chief Medical Officer, it was estimated that by 2030, 86.3 per cent of all deaths in Barbados would be caused by an NCD, if the current trends were not addressed.
He noted the recent charge by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to the Ministry of Health and Wellness to do all in its power to reduce the current mortality rate for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) from 35 per cent to 10 per cent.
He stated: “I am confident that we at the Ministry of Health and Wellness can change this trajectory…. It is critical that we scale up our ability to prevent, control, manage and treat NCDs.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness intends to encourage and to promote all aspects of health and wellness, the tenets of which will be incorporated into our health care planning process.”