NCDs, Universal Access and Mental Health Must Be on the Agenda

Photo: JIS Photographer Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson addresses attendees at the 66th World Health Assembly being held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from May 19 to 28, 2013.

Health Minister, the Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson is proposing four points for inclusion on the global agenda as world leaders contemplate fresh development goals. He made the intervention as he addressed the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.

He called for the inclusion of chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, Universal Access to Health, the Social Determinants of Health and Mental Health as critical items on the global agenda. Dr. Ferguson highlighted the crushing effects of chronic non-communicable diseases especially cancer and the urgent need to provide for universal access to healthcare on a platform that provides a safety net against poverty or severe financial hardship.

He also called for a fresh look at the Social Determinants of Health indicating that factors such as where people are born, live, work or grow-up are powerful considerations that are mostly responsible for health inequities. Dr. Ferguson warned global health leaders that the question of Mental Health cannot be ignored as manifestations such as self-immolation, anti-social behaviour and acts of violence are stark warnings.

“We need as a World Family to take seriously and plan for those many conditions that would drive persons to the point where they see no option but to act out their frustration. We need to see the warning signs and make the necessary interventions,”he said.

Dr. Ferguson challenged the WHA attendees to come up with new thinking for global health problems. He said some prescriptions are not working.

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