JIS News

Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, has said it is imperative that Jamaicans be educated to appreciate the link between their values and behaviour, and the social and economic performance of the country.
He pointed out that the large sum of money the country has to spend to remedy the results of anti-social behaviour and bad health practices, could be better spent elsewhere.
Mr. Spencer was delivering the third Hugh Lawson Shearer Memorial Lecture, at the 14th International Diabetes Conference, held at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay, on March 8.
He argued that there could be a significant reduction in health expenditure on chronic diseases, if persons adopted better health practices. “Think of all the things we could do with US$170.4 million, which represents the direct cost of diabetes to the Jamaican economy,” the Minister said.
“We could save some $2 billion in the health sector this year if Jamaicans resolve to settle their differences in a peaceful manner, obey the rules of the road and reduce motor vehicle crashes,” he added.
Mr. Spencer said that for the transformation of the health sector to be successfully accomplished, there must be an overarching social contract between the government and the people of the country. This social contract, he added, must include a strong primary health care system, one of the core links which calls for community participation in defining policies, health sector management and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
The Minister emphasised that for the country to achieve first world status, “we must have citizens who are healthy, educated, productive, aware, informed and law abiding.”

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