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Tufton encourages other islands to replicate 'Jamaica Moves' campaign

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, is encouraging other Caribbean countries to join forces and replicate the 'Jamaica Moves' campaign into 'Caribbean Moves', with the objective of reducing the region's growing rate of people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Jamaica Moves is part of the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which covers seven main categories of diseases — cardiovascular conditions, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, sickle cell, mental health disorders and chronic renal failure.

The campaign also focuses on community-level interventions to facilitate increased physical activity among the population.

Speaking at the Healthy Caribbean Coalition's (HCC) Caribbean NCD Forum held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Monday, Dr Tufton said his ministry has seen positive results and increased participation among Jamaicans in healthy lifestyle activities since the launch of Jamaica Moves one year ago.

He told the gathering, including delegates from other Caribbean islands, that the region has been successful in combating vaccine-preventable diseases, reducing maternal and infant mortality and premature death due to HIV/AIDS, through collaborations over the years.

The minister said the same can be done in the fight against NCDs with a campaign aimed at overcoming the epidemic.

“Our efforts here in Jamaica, including the Jamaica Moves efforts, serve as a platform for a 'Caribbean Moves' that shows regional commitment focused on tackling the NCD epidemic from a preventative perspective in the first instance,” Dr Tufton said.

He noted that Caribbean leadership was central to the movement that galvanised the world towards the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases, and that the Caribbean had the first ever political commitment in the world to fight the NCD epidemic in 2007.

Dr Tufton encouraged the delegates representing islands in the Caribbean to accelerate implementation of NCD responses that were previously agreed, to meet regional and global targets. “Political leadership and commitment are critical elements for success in tackling the NCD epidemic, along with the investment in a package of cost-effective interventions with a focus on prevention,” he said.

The HCC's Caribbean NCD Forum is a multi-stakeholder civil society-led meeting, which will last for three days between April 23 and 25. It is being hosted in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Pan American Health Organization, Sagicor Life Inc, Caribbean Public Health Agency, the University of the West Indies Open Campus, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, the Diabetics Association of Jamaica and the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance.

Sessions are aimed at bringing together diverse groups of approximately 100 stakeholders, including representatives from civil society, the Government and the private sector of the different Caribbean islands.

The primary goal of the Forum is to mobilise regional civil society organisations and other key stakeholders to ensure that the Caribbean is fully engaged in the third United Nations High Level Meeting (UNHLM) on NCDs.

The objectives of the Forum are to take stock of the NCD process in the Caribbean, harmonise CARICOM priority areas for the UNHLM 2018 and to discuss strategies to encourage the highest level of political attendance at the 2018 UNHLM and to explore post-2018 strategies.

At the end of the Forum, the delegates will arrive at a consensus on NCD priorities to take to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in September.

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