JIS News

Story Highlights

  • NCDs are responsible for about 70 per cent of preventable deaths.
  • Tobacco use, abuse of alcohol, improper diet and lack of exercise as the four pillars on which the prevalence of NCDs rests.
  • Dr. Ferguson commended the level of support received for the action.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has underscored the need for persons to become very health conscious, and join in the  campaign against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which is responsible for about 70 per cent of preventable deaths.

He cites tobacco use, abuse of alcohol, improper diet and lack of exercise as the four pillars on which the prevalence of NCDs rests, adding that Jamaica is committed to reducing premature deaths attributable to NCDs by 25 per cent  by the year 2025.

“As Minister of Health, my job is to knock down those four pillars and I call on all Jamaicans to help me do it,” he said.

The Minister was addressing the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Travel and Wellness Club’s Getaway and Health Conference, on October 18, at the Hilton, Rose Hall Resort and Spa, in Montego Bay.

The conference, which closes on October  19, is being held under the theme: ‘Enhancing Teachers’ Wealth through Health’.

Dr. Ferguson pointed out  that in examining NCDs, he has found that the best line of attack is to take on what he described as “the tobacco epidemic.”

“Despite the powerful interests that are working day and night, despite the talk of how much the revenue from tobacco means to the economy, I could not live with myself if I did nothing,” he said.

He outlined that up to 69 of the multiplicity of chemicals found in tobacco smoke are carcinogenic, that is cancer causing, whether through direct smoking or as second hand smoke.  He added that some six million persons across the globe die annually due to tobacco smoke, with some 600,000 of that number falling victims to second hand smoke, or what is termed passive smoking.

The Minister cited the action taken recently to ban smoking in specified public places as one measure to help prevent the many diseases caused by smoking.

Dr. Ferguson commended the level of support  received for the action, adding that it warms his heart, as there has never been that kind of support for any public policy.