KINGSTON, Jamaica--Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA, Dr. James Hospedales has hailed the exemplary contributions of Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris on matters pertaining to the region’s health sector, particularly in the area of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Over the last several years, Harris has championed the health threat of non-communicable diseases and its impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In his September 2018 address at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the prime minister drew the international community’s attention to the matter and advocated for a greater level of assistance to help curb its high incidence.
Within the margins of that same General Assembly, the prime minister also participated in the launch of the Defeat-NCD Partnership, which is a public-private initiative established to progress sustained actions against non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
“It was very important getting Prime Minister Harris’ support, which showed that a leader of a country is taking the threat of NCDs seriously enough and has made the connection between non-communicable diseases, which Defeat-NCD is trying to tackle, and climate change. And I must say that the prime minister did a very good job at that,” Dr. Hospedales said while speaking with the Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Harris strongly contends that climate change and NCDs are two sides of the same coin and that small island developing states, like St. Kitts and Nevis, are the most vulnerable to the impact of both.
“One link between climate and NCDs is the excessively large number of deaths among people with NCDs in the weeks and months after a large storm, given the disruption to services and reduced availability of medicines. Another link is food and nutrition security. We are witnessing the erosion of agriculture as more frequent storms, drought episodes and damage to coral reefs undermine food and nutrition security in SIDS. This leads to more consumption of cheap, low-quality imported food, leading to obesity and attendant NCDs,” Harris wrote in a co-authored article with Dr. Hospedales published in the November-December 2018 issue of the G20 Buenos Aires publication.
Harris is lead Head for Health and Human Development in the Caribbean Community CARICOM Quasi Cabinet and as such, Dr. Hospedales noted that it is “appropriate that Prime Minister Harris has shown this kind of leadership and we look forward to working with him some more.”
Harris, who is in Jamaica on official business, met and held brief discussions on matters pertaining to the region’s health sector with Jamaica’s Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton.