Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 30, 2014 (SKNIS): Faith-based leaders across St. Kitts and Nevis have come together to battle the ongoing war on Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) through a September 29 to 30 conference which focused on creating heart healthy environments.
High-blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high-cholesterol are just some of the NCDs that persons deal with on a global scale said Minister of Health the Hon. Marcella Liburd who emphasised that the Federation is no different.
“We in St. Kitts and Nevis are not immune to these behaviours and this is therefore an opportune time for us to work with our faith-based organisations so that together we can, as healthcare providers and spiritual providers, do what we usually do for generations of Kittitians and Nevisians, that is, take care of them,” she said.
Minister Liburd stated that the event is also timely as worldwide health professionals are being called upon to revisit a concept of community to affect change globally in all areas and health is no exception. She further stated that St. Kitts and Nevis recognises that there are several health challenges and social ills that require partnerships in order to “treat the needs of the vulnerable and the general public in particular.”
“We are aware that corporative partnerships within the Ministry of Health and faith-based organizations are not new,” the Health Minister noted. “However, this is the first initiative to transform the heart of the congregation, church by church, in all the communities of St. Kitts and Nevis. And so we must applaud it for that reason.”
NCD Prevention and Control Programme Coordinator Petrinella Edwards stated that the basis of the conference stems from the “legacy of caring” shared between all parties involved.
“We can therefore develop a substantive successful and mutually beneficial partnership that will be sustained leading to improved health outcome for individuals and communities in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Ms. Edwards noted.
She added that the Ministry of Health and the Alliance for Health Action (AHA) in the Federation approached the Health Caribbean Coalition, which is a network of NCD civil society organisation throughout the Caribbean, with the idea of holding the conference and they readily accepted.
The event was held by the Ministries of Health (St. Kitts and Nevis) and the National NCD Coordination Mechanism (Alliance for Health Action) in collaboration with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).