The NCD committee comprised of a multi-stakeholder membership engaged in key focused panel discussions aimed at strengthening health systems, financial allocation, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
The opening ceremony of the two-day session featured introductory and welcome remarks by the Director, Health Promotions and Advocacy Unit, Aldora Robinson. Director Robinson emphasized the importance of the composition of the committee which she said seeks to ensure a result of a holistic document.
She said: “Our final document should speak to the needs of the country and must ensure action. Action that results in a healthy TCI and our citizens living longer. It is my wish not only for longer life spans but more importantly for longer, healthier living that increases productivity and curbs obesity in our children and creates overall healthy communities.”
During his opening remarks, Minister of Health and Human Services, Jamell Robinson expressed his sincere gratitude to the committee for their careful consideration in formulating an action plan on non-communicable diseases which affect us all.
“Non-communicable diseases account for seven of the top ten causes of death globally and are responsible for 70 percent of all deaths worldwide. I urge this committee to reflect on that reality and commit to solutions that promote health, protect people and prevent avoidable death and suffering,” Robinson said. To terminate the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma and mental illness, we cannot simply treat the sick, but we must also seek to protect the healthy by address the root causes. Ultimately the response to NCD’s must be embedded within national health plans that prioritize prevention and are directed at achieving collective health coverage.”
The NCD Committee advanced the importance of enforcing the implementation of the School Nutrition and Physical Fitness Policy and Guidelines to include the provision of healthy, balanced meals for students as a priority. Additionally, the committee proffered the following:
1.Activate and establish health and multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms to strengthen all aspects of healthy living and lifestyles
2.Plan for, and/or implement healthy meal plan sessions for parents and guardians
3.Intensify awareness campaigns
4.Engage key community-based groups and civil society networks to increase the provision of reliable and factual information about NCD’s, their risks and prevention within our populations and communities
5.Empower affected communities and enable and support their leadership in devising, contributing actively to, and monitoring the responses of established health nutrition and fitness initiatives.
The Non-Communicable Diseases Committee will meet again shortly to reach a final consensus and finalization of the National Action Plan.