Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2013

Learn lesson from HIV & AIDS – PM Douglas urges Meeting on Non Communicable Diseases and Disability

Prime Minister of St Kitts Nevis Hon Dr. DouglasCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana - Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, on Monday called for bold actions to ensure that Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and disabilities are among the priorities in the post 2015-development agenda.

The Prime Minister, who has responsibility for health, human resources and HIV in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Quasi Cabinet, was speaking to an international gathering at a meeting organized by the CARICOM Secretariat, the Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and the NCD Alliance on the eve of the 68th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York for NCDs.

The event, chaired by Sir George Alleyne, University of the West Indies Chancellor, was intended to raise awareness of the relationship between NCDs and disabilities and the consequent social and economic impact, particularly in low and middle income countries. Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of PAHO/WHO, was among the panelists.

Dr. Douglas said that disabilities and NCDs were not only driven by ageing but, increasingly and alarmingly so, by the growing numbers of early childhood cases of diabetes and the increasing number of youth who were incapacitated by accidents and injuries.

The Prime Minister made reference to the Report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development, which provided evidence of the increasing economic burden of NCDS, and emphasized that urgent steps had to be taken to reverse current trends. He pointed to the significance of the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration Uniting to stop the Epidemic of Chronic NCDs, and indicated that its 15 actionable recommendations greatly influenced the UN High Level Meeting Political Declaration in 2011, and sparked a worldwide movement for a wellness revolution.

Prime Minister Douglas drew attention to the Kingston Accord which sets out the principles and actions to address the concern that despite the efforts of governmental bodies and other organizations, persons with disabilities still encounter discrimination. This is illustrated by the many obstacles they face which negatively impact their fundamental human rights and freedoms.

He called on the meeting to support the principles and actions of the Accord which include empowering the differently abled persons, and increasing their access to care and treatment.  In this context, he drew attention to the lessons learned from the HIV response. “While there is yet a substantial unfinished agenda towards achieving an `AIDS free generation’ there are vital lessons to be learned from the governance and application of the CARICOM/PANCAP AIDS agenda”, he said.

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