Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 06, 2018 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health is currently developing a new Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) action plan to help combat the prevalence of NCDs in the Federation, says Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Hazel Laws, while appearing on Wednesday’s, September 05, edition of “Working for You.”
The CMO stated that the plan is currently being edited and then will go before the Cabinet for approval.
“So this new action plan is going to provide us the roadmap to guide our activities and interventions as we move forward,” she said. “It’s from 2018 to 2022. It’s a number of interventions that are going to help to decrease the burden of NCDs.”
One such policy that the ministry is presently working on is its tobacco policy, said Dr. Laws.
“As you know, there is a World Health Organization (WHO) framework convention on tobacco control. It is really an international treaty to which the Federation has signed on to and part of our obligation as a Federation is really to develop a tobacco policy.”
Several questions have arisen while designing the policy including whether smoking tobacco will be allowed in public places and implementing taxes that may result in decreasing the demand for tobacco.
“So with this policy, we are collaborating with the Attorney General’s Chambers in developing an appropriate tobacco policy for the Federation,” said Dr. Laws.
According to Dr. Marissa Carty, NCDs Programme Coordinator in the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit at the Ministry of Health, the tobacco industry is currently marketing more electronic nicotine delivery systems.
“These seem to be high among the young people,” she said. “They tend to go to these as opposed to the cigarettes.”
She stated that research on the electronic cigarettes have not been extensively, but some of the research shows that these products can be used as a gateway to either smoking tobacco or marijuana.
“So these are some of the things we have to look at when it comes to developing even our tobacco policy and especially if we want to safeguard our young people,” said Dr. Carty.