JIS News

Minister of Health John Junor has revealed that more than 50 per cent of deaths among the Jamaican population was attributable to chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
“The fact is that we are now looking at somewhere in the region of about 200,000 hospital days being spent by persons suffering from chronic diseases. In 1999, approximately $1.1 billion was spent in treating persons with chronic diseases,” he said.
Minister Junor was addressing the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica’s Expo and Retreat, which was held at the Half Moon Hotel’s Conference Centre, in Rose Hall, Montego Bay, on Friday (June 25).
He told the gathering that hypertension and diabetes accounted for 32 per cent of the curative clinic visits.
Mr. Junor said that the statistics showed an epidemiological shift being experienced by lower and middle income countries globally, adding that world-wide these chronic conditions accounted for approximately 47 per cent of deaths.
Against that background, the Health Minister emphasised that the situation would become more serious with the inclusion of HIV/AIDS, noting that with the availability of drugs that could extend the life and the quality of life, of HIV/AIDS affected persons by between 20 and 30 years, that disease would soon be listed as a chronic condition.
The Health Minister noted that according to some recently released statistics, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections were the second leading cause of death among both men and women in the age group 30 to 34 years in Jamaica.
Minister Junor mentioned that the number of cases of HIV infection in children have declined, which he said might be attributable to the increased testing of pregnant women and other means of intervention. He was however, concerned about the level of HIV infection in women, noting that it was increasing more steadily than in men.
He told the members of the Pharmaceutical Association that their roles were now much wider than just dispensing drugs, as they were critical to the process as change agents.