Speaking at the first annual Caribbean meeting on non-communicable diseases and other issues related to nutrition and mental health, held in Jamaica, Joy John urged Caribbean nations to mind about these ailments and to conduct national action plans to fight them off.
The CARPHA chief pointed out that the rate of chronic diseases including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, among others, calls for greater commitment to control them.
In addition to providing further information on global objectives aimed at monitoring this health problem, the meeting was the perfect setting to present promising practices to supporting national programs, including cancer prevention and care.
Dean Chambliss, director of the PAHO/WHO Subregional Program, stressed that treating these diseases must consider the roll-out of public policies to identify risk factors and, at the same time, show people the pressing need to choose a healthy lifestyle.
The meeting was attended by epidemiologists, nutritionists and health authorities, representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), among others.
Chronic, non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, according to experts.
PAHO estimates that about 41 million people die of these diseases annually, which is equivalent to 71% of total deaths. The Americas region reports alone 5.5 million deaths annually.