a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Excellent editorial on cardio-vascular disease

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Jamaica Observer - Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Editor,

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica strongly commends the Observer on its editorial on cardio-vascular disease (CVD) on November 11. It was informative and the obvious research into the topic both buttressed and provided a mantle of authority to the many points made in the article. The comment on prevention of the CVD is worthy of much attention. The added tragedy of the impact of these diseases is that much of the ill health, disability and death is either preventable or can be greatly minimised.

The HFJ has been involved over decades in screening people for the detection of heart disease as well as major risk factors for the diseases outlined in the editorial with the view that the acquired information will encourage and enable persons to adopt the relevant preventative measures or take steps to ensure proper control of the detected disease. On a monthly basis, hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels are detected in substantial numbers of people who had no previous knowledge of their presence. High levels of obesity and increased abdominal girth are also frequent findings. The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control is engaged in activities to reduce cigarette smoking in Jamaica and other Caricom countries as smoking increases the risk for CVD.

The HFJ wishes to underscore the following comment in the article: "The control of the CVD is the responsibility of each and everyone and cannot be left to the Public Health-Care System". In this regard, the work of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is an important resource in the drive to educate the public and whenever possible, to screen for risk factors and early disease. Coordination of the activities of NGOs with the relevant strategies and activities of the Ministry of Health is highly desirable.

The Port of Spain Declaration on Chronic Diseases made in 2007 and the subsequent establishment of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition to engage civil society in efforts to control these diseases are proving to be catalysts in the drive to reduce the impact of CVD and other chronic diseases in Jamaica and the rest of Caricom. The planned United Nations meeting on chronic diseases scheduled for September 2011 - an initiative spearheaded by Caricom countries - should further galvanise efforts, measures and activities to reduce the heavy burden of cardio-vascular disease.

Knox Hagley

Chairman The Heart Foundation of Jamaica

Kingston 5

First Published here -  www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Excellent-editorial-on-cardio-vascular-disease_8167139

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