A message by the Minister of Health on the National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases (2017-2021).
The health of a nation is a fundamental determinant of
the quality of life of its citizens and directly influences
expenditure, productivity, and the achievement of
sustainable developmental goals. Health is therefore an
instrument of development.
Unfortunately, significant increases in the domestic
occurrence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
namely, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and
cerebrovascular disease, threaten to erode decades of
public sector investment. In recent years, NCDs have
become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality
in Trinidad and Tobago. Without action, the increasing
prevalence of NCDs will continue to unduly burden our
health system, consume already scarce resources and
severely undermine our socioeconomic advancement.
The good news is that collectively, we have the ability
to dramatically reduce the occurrence of NCDs through
the implementation of proven cost-effective strategies.
While the Government is best poised to implement the
broad-based policy and legislative actions necessary, it is
clear that a collaborative approach is required. Individuals,
stakeholder groups, the wider society and the Government
must work collectively and decisively to reduce the threat
of NCDs and improve the health of our people.
It is in this context that I present the National Strategic
Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable
Diseases. This holistic action-based plan takes into
account the entire NCD health care management
spectrum. The plan seeks to harness the collective
efforts of both the public and private sector in order to
synergise and integrate NCD prevention and control at all
stages in the life course and engage stakeholders via the
whole of society and whole of government approaches.
Additionally, it takes into consideration the range of health
interventions necessary to combat the prevalence of NCDs
including; policy and environmental changes, healthy
lifestyle promotion, early detection and treatment of
metabolic risk factors, advocacy and community outreach,
surveillance, and research.
Fundamentally, the success of this initiative will be
determined by our ability to change deeply entrenched
habits and accept personal responsibility for our health
status. With your support, I am confident that this
National Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non
Communicable Diseases will become a living blueprint for
a more proactive response to our national health needs
and be the catalyst for the creation of a society of
happier, healthier, fitter people…living longer and more
The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh
Minister of Health