A message by the Minister of Health on the National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases (2017-2021).
The health of a nation is a fundamental determinant of the quality of life of its citizens and directly influences expenditure, productivity, and the achievement of sustainable developmental goals. Health is therefore an instrument of development.
Unfortunately, significant increases in the domestic occurrence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) namely, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and cerebrovascular disease, threaten to erode decades of public sector investment. In recent years, NCDs have become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Trinidad and Tobago. Without action, the increasing prevalence of NCDs will continue to unduly burden our health system, consume already scarce resources and severely undermine our socioeconomic advancement.
The good news is that collectively, we have the ability to dramatically reduce the occurrence of NCDs through the implementation of proven cost-effective strategies. While the Government is best poised to implement the broad-based policy and legislative actions necessary, it is clear that a collaborative approach is required. Individuals, stakeholder groups, the wider society and the Government must work collectively and decisively to reduce the threat of NCDs and improve the health of our people.
It is in this context that I present the National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases. This holistic action-based plan takes into account the entire NCD health care management spectrum. The plan seeks to harness the collective efforts of both the public and private sector in order to synergise and integrate NCD prevention and control at all stages in the life course and engage stakeholders via the whole of society and whole of government approaches. Additionally, it takes into consideration the range of health interventions necessary to combat the prevalence of NCDs including; policy and environmental changes, healthy lifestyle promotion, early detection and treatment of metabolic risk factors, advocacy and community outreach, surveillance, and research.
Fundamentally, the success of this initiative will be determined by our ability to change deeply entrenched habits and accept personal responsibility for our health status. With your support, I am confident that this National Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases will become a living blueprint for a more proactive response to our national health needs and be the catalyst for the creation of a society of happier, healthier, fitter people…living longer and more productive lives.
The Honourable Terrence Deyal Singh Minister of Health