• JIS News

    Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, has said that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not take place without a paradigm shift in the health and environment sectors.
    Making his contribution in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 3), Mr. Spencer said that these two sectors account (directly or indirectly) for 75 per cent of the MDGs.
    The MDGs are eight objectives to be achieved by 2015, that respond to the world’s main development challenges. The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 nations, and signed by 147 Heads of State and Governments during the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000.
    These goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
    “Mid-way into the time-frame for the achievement of the Millennium Declaration, increased economic hardship, high national debt and rising oil prices have presented additional obstacles for low and middle income countries in meeting the MDGs,” he said, noting that international trade and travel have brought new challenges for health.
    He noted, however, that the 61st World Health Assembly held in Geneva undertook discussions which sought to address the major health issues facing the world. These include: the influenza pandemic, prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, public health innovation and intellectual property, strategies to achieve the MDGs and universal immunization, strategies to reduce the harmful use of tobacco, and climate change and public health.
    The Minister said that there was a tendency to focus on the environmental aspects of climate change and health and neglect other health implications, including heat related illnesses, respiratory tract conditions, vector borne illnesses, diseases from urban air pollution, diseases and injuries related to extremes in weather, infectious water borne diseases resulting from poor water quality in insufficient quantities, and mental health concerns.
    These global imperatives have profound implications for Jamaica and it is against this background, that some goals and a vision for 2030 have been set for the country. This vision seeks to identify and tackle the health related obstacles that are faced within the country.
    “We will never beat back the persistent enemies of poverty, ill-health and environmental degradation if our health and environment sectors merely squat on the periphery of the country’s economic and development agendas,” the Minister said.