The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is set to launch SKN Moves, an initiative that is geared towards promoting healthy lifestyles and combating Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
SKN Moves, which was launched on Friday, August 9, forms part of a regional initiative, Caribbean Moves – a re-energizing and intensification of the health promotion efforts through creative and innovative multi-sectoral collaboration.
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Andrew Skerritt, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, appeared on “Working for You” on Wednesday, August 7, to speak about the health initiative. Dr. Laws noted that the initiative is important for several reasons—one of the major reasons is helping to combat NCDs.
“This initiative is very important because Non-Communicable Diseases is critical, is a big problem Caribbean-wide and in our Federation. Three out of four deaths in the English-speaking Caribbean can be attributed to NCDs,” said Dr. Laws. “And let’s bring the picture closer home. When you look at our statistics coming out of the Ministry of Health as much as 83 percent of our deaths are as a result of cancers, heart diseases/attacks, strokes… and the complications of diabetes.”
Permanent Secretary Skerritt shared similar sentiments and noted that it is important for persons to practice healthy lifestyles.
“Chronic Non Communicable Diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Federation. We don’t want to outspend ourselves. We want to have a sustainable form of healthcare. It costs a lot to treat diabetes, hypertension, strokes, build renal facilities,” he said. “So, if we can encourage change through physical activity, through healthier dieting habits, through knowing your status… these things are quite important.”
Skerritt noted that the initiative was pioneered by Dr Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, who then introduced it to the wider CARICOM Heads of Government.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr.Timothy Harris, who is the CARICOM lead head with respect to Health and Human Resource, is definitely leading by example. He has extended an invitation to Dr. Tufton, to be a part of the launch in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Caribbean Moves, was launched in 2018 by several CARICOM Heads of Government. This initiative will build on the experience of the Jamaica Moves initiative which creates a movement that promotes physical activity, healthy eating and age-appropriate health checks at the level of the school, workplace and community. It will contribute to one of the goals of the CARICOM Heads of Government to change the Caribbean culture towards a lifestyle of regular physical activity and healthier diets.