Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Dr. Carissa Etienne has urged increased action against Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) citing them as being responsible for 60 to 70% of Guyana’s mortality rate.
Speaking at a reception in her honour at the Princess International Hotel, Dr Etienne said, “I know everyone is quite excited about Ebola, but Ebola may never come to our shores, but NCDs are here with us and they are killing most of our people. This is an enemy we have to come together to fight.” She cited the damage tobacco brings to one’s health and said she is also awaiting food regulations in the Caribbean.
She added that Guyana is one of PAHO’s key countries and therefore it has over the past 12 years focused attention to health in Guyana. “We ensure we give sufficient to Guyana of our little budget. I want to complement the Government of Guyana in the health related Millennium Development Goals. For all of us this was an important target; we were able to reduce maternal and infant and child mortality, also address malaria and tuberculosis,” Dr Etienne said.
She added that significant advancement has been made in Guyana. She said PAHO’s passion is to ensure that all countries throughout the Americas have the resources to reach the millennium goals and added that her passion for the health and wellness of people was born in Dominica.
“PAHO continues to work on universal health coverage. Non- Communicable Diseases are responsible for 60 to 70% of the deaths in Guyana and Guyana is one of the highest, which requires PAHO to act urgently,” Dr. Etienne explained.
She talked about having physical activity in schools and facilities for such, and urged the uprise of healthy eating to fight against chronic diseases.
Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran said the rising epidemic of NCDs should possibly be determined as a national security threat, and the Wellness Week’s Symposium, will be dedicated to emerging public health threats, which the Minister said are not Ebola or Chikungunya but rather NCDs.
Dr Ramsaran said the nature of HIV/AIDS has changed and it’s no longer a chronic disease, thus the Ministry is taking up the fight against NCDs.
Present at the gathering at the Princess International Hotel was, Dr. William Adu-Krow, PAHO representative in Guyana, officials of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira among others. (GINA)
Filed: 14th September 2014