Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says integrating behavioural science with clinical approaches is important in tackling the issue of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Dr. Tufton, who was addressing the Ministry’s NCD Programme Review and Conference at the Hyatt Ziva Resort in St. James recently, said that the experience of the coronavirus (COVID-19), has highlighted the importance of human behaviour in dealing with a pandemic.
Drawing parallels between NCDs and COVID-19, he noted that “what both pandemics have taught us is the importance of combining clinical and behavioural science approaches and ensuring that our planning processes reflect this balance”.
“Human behaviour is a key determinant of the extent to which countries have been affected by COVID-19,” he said, contending that it was a major factor in how quickly COVID-19 was able to spread at the beginning of the pandemic.
“Similarly, human behaviour has been a key factor in shaping the extent of the impact of NCDs on our population and the extent of our success in combatting the problem,” he pointed out.
The Health Minister said that effectively addressing NCDs requires an integrated approach, as these illnesses cut across many different areas and specialisations.
“It is important to define the NCD agenda in a way that articulates the different components but also appreciates the interconnection between them,” he said.
“I think this is what the NCD committee is aiming to achieve; a multisectoral approach that integrates all the diverse players and policy issues, taking into account multiple risks factors and approaches,” he added.