Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Chronic Illness still a concern

THE incidence of chronic diseases remains a major health and development concern for the Caribbean region.

According to Professor Trevor Hassell, Chairman of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and Chairman of the National Chronic Non Communicable Diseases Commission, it is important, therefore, that steps be taken to encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles across the region. He made the comments while speaking to the media following a presentation to those attending the Anglican Church Province of the West Indies’ Congress 2013, which was held at the Cave Hill Campus.
Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Barbados,
Dr. John Holder (centre), prepares to sign the petition as
Chairman of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC),
Professor Trevor Hassell (right), and Manager of the HCC,
Maisha Hutton, look on.
The professor lamented that as it stands, only five per cent of persons living in the Caribbean region consume the required number of fruits and vegetables and that only half of people in the region engage in an appropriate level of physical activity on a regular basis. He said that these factors have contributed to the rise in chronic diseases and account for more than six out of every ten deaths in the region.

“The opportunity was presented for me to share the story with this unique audience, because the Anglican Church in the Caribbean has a very significant voice and has played a major role in the development of the region. The church itself, the Anglican Church, has recognised its responsibility in this area of chronic disease, and so, in a resolution, for example, in November last year, the Anglican Dioceses in the Caribbean passed a very important resolution around chronic diseases,” he added.

He noted that one provision of that resolution was an agreement to work with the HCC in its efforts aimed at tackling chronic non-communicable diseases. To that end, he said that one of the things which found favour with the audience yesterday, was the recommendation that perhaps the Caribbean, at the very highest political level, could be promoted as a healthy lifestyle region.

“So many of our ills in the Caribbean could be reduced if we all pursued at the institutional level, at the level of the family, at the level of the individual … a healthy lifestyle,” he added. (JRT)

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