Thursday, May 24, 2012
Minister of Health Presentation at Commonwealth Ministers of Health Meeting
Port of Spain, May 23, 2012: The Honourable Dr. Fuad Khan, Minister of Health made his contribution at the annual meeting of Commonwealth Health Ministers on May 20th 2012, ahead of the World Health Assembly meetings in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Meeting was held under the theme, “Linking Non-communicable and Communicable diseases” and focused on dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the context of health service integration. In his contribution, Minister Khan noted that communicable and chronic non communicable diseases accounted for up to 72% of deaths in Trinidad and Tobago. He recognised a relationship between communicable diseases such as HIV and dengue fever and chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer.
Some of the underlying drivers he identified were:
(1) The causal effect where the incidence of one disease is brought on by the presence of the other such as HIV positive patients developing hyperlipidemia and diabetes.
(2) The complementary effect of the broader determinants of health. Social determinants such as living conditions, social and community networks, environmental conditions, income and other socioeconomic variables which can negatively impact health are similar for both communicable as well as chronic diseases.
(3) The substitute effect - increased economic standing can decrease susceptibility to communicable diseases but it may, nevertheless, increase one’s susceptibility to CNCDs due to poor dietary and lifestyle choices.
Minister Khan told his audience that the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases side by side with the CNCD epidemic has signalled the need for countries to integrate detection, prevention, treatment and control strategies to enable us to optimize utilization of our limited health care resources. He also shared Trinidad and Tobago’s approach for integrating health programmes, stating that, “Programme integration to us means that we must manage and deliver our health services in such a manner that our people can receive a continuum of care from promotion, to rehabilitation and palliation, through various levels and sites throughout the health system in accordance with their need.”
Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting was held on May 20th 2012 at the Starling Geneva Hotel and Conference Centre, Geneva with the theme “Linking Non-Communicable and Communicable Diseases”. Both the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Statement on Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and the 2011 United Nations High-Level Meeting Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases acknowledged that NCDs constitute a major challenge to development in the twenty-first century, undermining social and economic advances, increasing inequalities within and between countries, and threatening the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
In recognising that many member states faced a dual burden, of not just NCDs, but also communicable diseases (CDs), Commonwealth Health Ministers decided to explore further the linkages between NCDs and CDs. This is particularly pertinent in view of the number of lowand middle-income countries in the Commonwealth facing this dual challenge to already over-stretched healthcare systems.
The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting will provide member states with a technical update on the linkages between NCDs and CDs and an opportunity to discuss main policy and technical issues pertaining to the linkages between NCDs and CDs. The meeting will also be an opportunity for countries to share experiences and best practices. and for the Commonwealth Secretariat to receive policy and technical direction for its work in this area.
The Chair of the meeting will be the Hon Donville Inniss, Minister of Health, Barbados.