The staging of the health walk came on the heels of the launch of SKN Moves, which took place on Friday, August 9, 2019, at Independence Square. SKN Moves is a national programme targeting all persons in the Federation in an attempt to encourage persons to adopt healthier lifestyles and behaviours to attain their highest level of wellness and productivity.
The national programme forms part of a wider regional initiative, Caribbean Moves – which was adopted by CARICOM leaders in 2018 to foster healthy lifestyles to combat NCDs (non-communicable diseases).
Among those participating in Saturday’s National Health Walk were Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Senator the Honourable Wendy Phipps, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, and Jamaica’s Minister of Health, Dr. the Honourable Christopher Tufton, who was the guest speaker at the launch of SKN Moves.
Commenting on the success of the walk, Prime Minister Harris said, “We had a wonderful turnout. We had children, we had some of young recruits from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, we had the elderly, we had those who are part of the diabetic association, we had the health workers, we had sports teams and so it is a good representation of the national community and we hope that this thrust would excite greater interest in physical activity in particular and more people will get on the move.”
“We are very happy about today’s turnout. We had a large, energetic response to the request for people to begin to get on the move, for people to engage in more physical activities of their choosing, for people to begin to eat healthier and for people to do their check-ups,” added Prime Minister Harris, who is the lead Head for Health and Human Development in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
Jamaica’s Health Minister, Dr. Tufton, commended Prime Minister Harris for his leadership in getting the national community up and moving and his leadership in the fight against NCDs.
Minister Tufton, who pioneered Jamaica Moves – the initiative from which Caribbean Moves was inspired, noted that the fight against NCDs must be a unified effort primarily because Caribbean countries face similar health challenges, similar threats, and opportunities.
He added, “In Jamaica we have our own challenge of obesity and lifestyle diseases and so the NCDs epidemic needs a response and we have tried to confront that challenge with the Jamaica Moves movement, as well as several other activities, but clearly we have to collaborate as one Caribbean people and I think what we had here this morning and from yesterday (Friday 9) afternoon is an indication that St. Kitts and Nevis is ready for this challenge as signed on with the leadership of the prime minister and it is just now for us to demonstrate sustainability over time.”
It is hoped that the SKN Moves initiative will lead to a 10 percent relative reduction of physical inactivity in the population by 2025; a 5 percent increase in the population’s consumption of five (5) or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and a 5 percent increase in the number of persons accessing at least one medical check-up per year.
The overall goal, according to Prime Minister Harris, is to achieve a 10 percent reduction in preventable premature deaths due to NCDs by 2025.