JIS News

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Health for Jamaica, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester, has said that with chronic non-communicable diseases being major contributors to morbidity and mortality in Jamaica, the incidence of renal disease must be reduced at all cost.
“With complications from hypertension and diabetes leading to end stage chronic renal failure , we must begin to consider how best to reduce the incidence of renal disease,” Dr. Forrester said in a statement read at the Second Annual Nephrology and Hypertension Conference, Rose Hall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay St. James on Monday (January 25) by Western Regional Health Authority’s (WRHA), Gregory Thomas.
Dr. Campbell-Forrester pointed out that the Ministry of Health was in the process of undertaking prevention programmes to reduce non-communicable diseases, which will focus on increasing physical activity, healthy eating, reducing smoking and promoting self care.
“When the Jamaica Healthy Lifestyle Survey 2000 and 2008 are compared, the good news is that reduction in smoking and cholesterol levels were recorded. However much more needs to be done by the patients in controlling their chronic diseases,” Dr. Forrester noted.
She pointed out that, on the treatment side, seven health centres have been targeted for a comprehensive programme that would improve quality care for diabetes.
She stated that chronic non-communicable diseases are being targeted globally, as they contribute significantly to the global burden of disease.
In 2009, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) highlighted the need for countries to address the non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) and issues related to organ donation, including kidneys and renal transplantation.
In 2007, the Heads of Government signed the Port of Spain Declaration titled: ‘Uniting to stop the epidemic of chronic NCDs’. They committed to give it full support. As a follow up, Heads of Government are seeking to have the United Nations include targets for NCD’s as part of Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Dr. Campbell-Forrester emphasised that with all those initiatives, it was imperative that all concerned individuals, inclusive of conference participants, support country and community initiatives, and work together to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases and their complications, while addressing the immediate needs of patients with end stage renal disease.
“Let us remember the old adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’ and also ensure that we engage our patients, ensuring that they are well educated about their condition and the importance of optimal self management. This can make all the difference to their outcomes,” the CMO said.
The conference, which got underway on Monday (January 25) will end on Wednesday (January 27).