NCPC-NCDs discuss work plans, next step
GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
In February 2017, Cabinet approved the appointment of 26 persons to function on the National Commission for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCPC-NCDs) in Guyana.
The representatives on the Commission met for the first time today, for an orientation meeting at the Regency Hotel on Hadfield Street, Georgetown. The meeting was aimed at familarising the Commissioners on the roles and responsibility of the Commission, particularly as it relates to aiding the Ministry of Public Health’s efforts towards addressing the top four causes of NDCs in Guyana; cardiovascular (heart) disease, chronic respiratory (lung) diseases, cancer and diabetes.
Minister within the Ministry of Health Dr. Karen Cummings explained that the Commission’s main role will be to coordinate the multi-responses to the epidemic of NCDs in Guyana. The Commission’s general objectives will centre on addressing the major risk factors for NCDs, she said.
Dr. Cummings explained that the Commission will do this by raising awareness among the public and among decision-makers of the burden of the chronic disease locally and regionally, their common risk factors across the lifespan, and the effective evidence-based interventions to prevent and control the NCDs.
The Commission will also be expected to advise the government on policies, legislation and national mechanism to plan, coordinate, and evaluate implementation of national strategies and programmes for the prevention and control of NDCs. It will also broker effective involvement of all relevant sectors in programme implementation, mobilise, recognise and scale-up the efforts that companies, organisations and the country undertake individually and collectively to promote health and prevent heart diseases, stroke, and cancer among others.
NCDs kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70 percent all deaths globally. Further, each year, 17 million people die from an NCD before the age of 70 and 87 percent of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Of all the 86 causes of NDCs, cardiovascular diseases account for most deaths or 17.7 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.8 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million). These four groups of diseases account for 81 per cent of all NCD deaths.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud told the Commissioners that Guyana has observed a growing
epidemic of these four causes of NCDs, and it is striving to build strategic partnerships with other ministries, civil society and the private sector among other stakeholder bodies to implement a comprehensive and integrated approach to prevent and mitigate the impact of these NCDs.
The CMO explained that the strategy incorporates the use of population based, as well as high risk individual based interventions to reduce the incidence of the NDCs. This include risk factor reduction measures such as tobacco control, health promotion such as policy standards promoting healthy eating in schools, integrated disease management and patient self-management education, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, public policy, advocacy and communication and programme management.
Dr. Persaud explained that the work of the Commission particularly focuses on ensuring and promoting the development and implementation of effective, integrated, sustainable and evidence-based public policies, and on the programme management.
During the orientation meeting the Commissioners also addressed the work plan of the commission and future meetings. Agreement was also reached with regard the formation and representatives of three sub-committees. These are the committees for the Information, Education and Communication, the committee to address policy and legislation, and the committee to plan the official launch of the operation of the NCPC-NCDs. Dr. Persaud explained that the Commission is expected to be officially launched sometime in July.
In response to the multi-factor causes of NCDs, the government in 2014 established the NCPC-NCD.
The Cabinet of the new government in June 2015 reviewed this decision, taking into consideration the worsening situation on NCDs in Guyana and agreed to continue the Commission with some modification to enhance its factions and efficiency. Cabinet directed that the membership of the commission must be drawn from a broad cross- section of society.
The 26 members of the Commission are inclusive of representatives from the new government ministries and agencies, the private and public sector, international health organisations, civil society, religious bodies and the media, and are under the Chairmanship of President David Granger or his designate.
The Commission which became operationalised from February 1, 2017, has a life of exactly two years. The Commission’s Secretariat will be based at the Ministry of Public Health. Cabinet has made available a total of $3.5 Million for the Commission to facilitate its work this year.
By: Macalia Santos