Region faces epidemic of non-communicable disease

| 23/04/2012

(CNS): With two out of three deaths of people younger than 70 resulting from a chronic disease the Cayman Islands health minister said the region is facing an epidemic. Mark Scotland said that in Cayman the issue of non-communicable disease was at the top of the national health agenda. As a result of questions in the national census the minister said the country knows that the top three diagnosed illnesses here are high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma. Speaking at the 57th Annual Caribbean Health and Research Council/Caribbean Public Health Agency (CHRC/CARPHA) Scientific Conference – held in Cayman last week he said research was essential to addressing the problem.

“Relevant, current and localized statistics is a key ingredient of successful national prevention and treatment programmes and as such we are also embarking – with the help of PAHO – on a national health risk factor survey,” Scotland said.

He said a pillar of creating effective public health initiatives was research and the conference programme had a strong focus on lifestyle diseases.

“By 2020 – a mere decade from now – non-communicable diseases will account for 60 percent of the global burden of disease. We all know that this will strain national health systems severely with significant negative economic and social consequences,” he warned.

Over 150 delegates attended the scientific research conference which Scotland said would contribute a great deal to pro-active public health initiatives which serves to improve the health of the region’s citizens exponentially.
The conference which closed Saturday included keynote lectures, satellite meetings hosted by professional medical societies and training workshops. CHRC has successfully hosted its annual research conference since 1956, assigning a different host nation every year. However, this year is historical as it is the first time that the meeting was hosted by the Cayman Islands.

See minister’s statement below

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