• JIS News

    The Ministry of Health and Environment will be continuing efforts to increase health promotion in order to attain the highest possible level of health care for all Jamaicans.
    This, according to Health Minister, Rudyard Spencer, who, in his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 3, noted that “health promotion is an integral part of all programmes, projects and interventions executed.”
    He said that it is imperative that focus remained on creating healthy schools, healthy workplaces and healthy communities. “We will work with businesses, especially the food industry, to ensure that the Jamaican people have healthy choices and are better informed consumers,” the Health Minister said.
    In addition, he informed that the Ministry will be maintaining health promotion activities in schools such as healthy nutrition, physical activity at all levels, proper sanitary facilities, safe and continuous water supplies, and a clean, healthy and peaceful environment. “The aim is to inculcate healthy habits into the children that they will carry with them for life even into adulthood, as parents themselves,” he pointed out.
    Mr. Spencer further informed that the creation of healthy, supportive environments in communities will continue. “The healthy zones built in the communities of Sabina and Hamilton Gardens are a demonstration of such healthy settings. Others are in progress in Braeton Phase IV, Rockmore in St. Mary, and Longville in Clarendon. This concept will be expanded in terms of building additional spaces such as these, as well as widening the participation of other public and private entities,” he informed.
    In addition, he said the Ministry will continue and expand the Workplace Wellness Programme that was launched recently.
    In the meantime, Mr. Spencer pointed out that the burden on the public health sector has increased, due to the “shift in our epidemiological profile from communicable and infectious diseases to chronic disease conditions.” Consequently, some $2 billion will spend on the health budget this year to treat injuries from violence including motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, US$170 million will be spent on chronic diseases.
    The Minister informed that a Tobacco Control Legislation will be established that will reflect the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The WHO FCTC is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health.
    “The total ban on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion of all forms will be proposed; smoke free environments in all enclosed spaces will be included in the law; prohibition of sale of tobacco products to minors; the matter of illicit trade of these tobacco products, and other areas are to be addressed,” Mr. Spencer explained.
    This follows a chronic disease summit held in Trinidad last September, which examined the chronic disease situation in the region and agreed on a regional approach to the prevention and control of these diseases.
    Also, out of this summit, came the Declaration of Port of Spain as well as a project on Regional Public Goods. There was also an agreement to implement a Caribbean Wellness Day to be observed annually on the second Saturday of September.

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