The health profile of the Saint Lucian population is being significantly impacted by chronic non-communicable diseases. These chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and kidney disease. This has placed great burden on individuals, families and health agencies. This reality has demanded a decisive call to action to halt this threat to health and well-being. The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Health, has prioritized the prevention, management and control of non-communicable diseases which contribute to the majority of premature deaths occurring in the country.
Achieving this change requires strong leadership and a coordinated effort to reverse the chronic disease epidemic. It is within this context that the Cabinet of Ministers recently appointed and installed a National Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Commission. This Commission has been given the authority to advise and direct the road map for actions to prevent and control chronic disease through comprehensive approach involving all sectors.
To prepare the Commission to undertake its role, a two-day training programme was implemented by the Ministry of Health. The initiative was facilitated by a chronic disease technical expert from the Pan-American Health Organization. This training took place on August 15th and 16th, 2017 at the Public Service Training Room in Union and provided members with an overview of the current status of the epidemic in Saint Lucia, the state’s chronic disease policy and legislative commitments, and opened the floor for discussions on strategies to create an environment more protective of human health.
This Commission is chaired by Dr. Owen Gabriel, Consultant Oncologist alongside Commission representatives from the Ministry of Education, Agriculture, Attorney General’s Chambers, and the Labour Department. Non-governmental agencies which are members of the Commission include the Saint Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association and the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association. The Commission has a two-year term of office which comes to an end in 2019.