The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) has finalized a new 10-year strategic plan for chronic diseases.
It is called the Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD MAP) 2021-2030. The NCD MAP was presented to the Ministries of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports, the Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Finance by the Minister of VSA Hon. Omar Ottley.
NCDs are chronic conditions that are caused by a combination of lifestyle, biological and environmental factors. They are the biggest cause of ill-health and death in the world.
In Sint Maarten, around a quarter of the population suffer from a chronic condition including high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, cancer, stroke, and heart attack. Mental health related issues are also a prevalent but hidden condition.
The vision of the NCD MAP is a vibrant Sint Maarten society where health and wellbeing are the way of life for all people to achieve their fullest potential in a stigma-free, equitable and supportive community.
The mission of the strategic plan is to create and promote a supportive environment that enables and empowers people to make healthier choices that will prevent and reduce NCDs and their risk factors by 2030. This can only be achieved by multisectoral action and collaboration between the various ministries.
The four NCD MAP strategic action areas are 1. Strengthen health systems for surveillance, research, monitoring and evaluation on NCD prevalence and risk factors; 2. Establish governance and coordination mechanisms for multisectoral involvement, decision-making and implementation of the NCD MAP; 3. Reduce NCD risk factors by creating awareness, promoting healthy lifestyles and addressing determinants of health; 4. Provide quality, people-centered, integrated and comprehensive services for the effective management of NCDs, including self-management.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Left: Ms Nicola Taylor, program director for PAHO, Minister of VSA Omar Ottley.
Right: Dr Erica Wheeler, PAHO rep for T&T and Dutch Caribbean
Dr Paul Edwards.