Taking Responsibility Tour kicks off in Manchester today

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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SIXTY-TWO per cent of deaths in men and 74 per cent of deaths in women are attributed to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to the 2016 Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey III.

These diseases, which are often linked to lifestyle behaviours, among other risk factors, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2018 country profile, account for an alarming 80 per cent of deaths across the island, which has caused “reasonable concern” for Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, a recent release said.

“Non-communicable diseases are a public health problem. The results of the health and lifestyle survey shows us just this. Many people do not know this but we had to push back the launch of the results because the researchers wanted to validate the data,” Tufton is quoted as saying.

The preliminary results, which were disseminated in September 2018, show the prevalence of non-communicable diseases by parish, which, according to Tufton, laid the foundation for the Taking Responsibility Tour, which is set to begin today in Manchester.

The first stop in the tour is at Manchester High School and the guest speaker is expected to be Dr Phillip Coombs. The event is open to the public.

“The purpose of this tour is to spread awareness of the health issues faced by Jamaicans, and to inform and explain the measures that we are taking at the Ministry of Health to address them. Additionally, through stakeholder consultation or feedback, we will promote individual ownership of the need for proactive and preventative self-care so that we are all doing our part to make Jamaicans healthier and our country stronger,” Tufton said.

Manchester, which is the first stop on the tour, reported a significant cause for concern in relation to the prevalence of NCDs diabetes and hypertension in women, the release said. Within the parish, there is a reported instance of 22 per cent of females being diabetic compared to nine per cent of males, and 38 per cent of females reporting to have hypertension as compared to 33.3 per cent of males and within the age group 15 years and older.

“The parish of Manchester, especially relating to diabetes, is a cause for concern. The figures show that among the 14 parishes islandwide, they have the highest rate of diabetes in women,” the health minister said..

With 10 per cent of all diabetic patients ending up with renal failure, and only five hospitals providing public dialysis units to the 531 chronic kidney disease patients, Tufton believes more than ever the push of taking responsibility for one's health is necessary.

He highlighted the importance of the Government's encouragement of individuals to take responsibility for their health so that they can prevent these diseases.

“The average life expectancy for a dialysis patient is five to 30 years, and based on the estimate of persons being seen at the public dialysis units, the budget provision is over $500,000,000 per annum. In excess of 900 persons are currently on the public dialysis waiting list. This simply shows that the long-term implications for treating this disease are costly and must be addressed now to ensure people have the tools to make the decisions to avoid getting to this stage. ” share Tufton.

The Taking Responsibility Tour will address the Government's short- and long-term plans relating to the health sector, as well as a call to action to the Jamaican people at large to take individual responsibility for their health, the release said.

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