Gov’t strengthening management of non-communicable diseases

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), launched the first ‘Hearts technical package’ which will provide effective and practical interventions to strengthen the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in primary healthcare systems.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P. during his feature address at the Eccles Health Centre on Friday, said the country is faced with a number of NCDs including; cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, renal diseases, cerebrovascular diseases (strokes) and mental health issues.

Advisor to the Minister of Health and Head of the Presidential Commission for Non-communicable diseases, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.

“What we are seeking to do is to change the protocols that we’re using in terms of treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases…especially cardiovascular diseases,” the minister said.

He said the hearts programme will increase the life expectancy of persons as it is designed to educate, treat and monitor persons with these diseases.

Representative of PAHO/WHO, Dr. Luis Codina.

“So, we have to pivot our programmes to make sure that we are able to manage these diseases well.

“If we are able to manage these diseases and identify them early and manage them well, then people are going to live longer and healthier lives.”

Also, health workers will be trained to educate persons on healthier lifestyle changes, as well as provide better treatment for persons with such diseases.

Some contents of the hearts package.

Advisor to the Minister of Health and Head of the Presidential Commission for non-communicable diseases, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said “[Non-communicable disease] represents our number one burden of disease and which is significantly responsible for limiting our life expectancy, one of the major contributors to disability…and the number one cause of mortality in our country.”

Dr. Ramsammy added that the position of the commission is to reduce the import of unhealthy foods in Guyana.

“Guyana [must] take leadership at the Caribbean level, at CARICOM to ensure that we limit importation in this country of food that is too high in salt content…we import too much trans-fat in our country,” Dr. Ramsammy said.

Persons at the launch of the hearts package.

Meanwhile, representative of PAHO/WHO, Dr. Luis Codina said, “PAHO is particularly pleased that our organisation has been able to provide technical cooperation for the introduction of the initiative at the country level, and is committed to supporting the ongoing implementation as Guyana continues its efforts to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases.”

He relayed that the hearts programme will contribute to the achievement of PAHO’s vision “that 2025 the hearts initiative will be an institutionalised model for cardiovascular disease risk management.”

Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by reduced smoking, reduced alcohol consumption, eating balance diets and exercising.

This year, the hearts programme will be rolled out in eight facilities across Guyana in  Lethem, Port Mourant, Anna Regina, Eccles, Campbellville, Industry, Grove and Lusignan.

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