Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is worried that too much of the country’s health care spending is on treating Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and has suggested that the focus should be on preventative health care to bring the problem under control.
Delivering remarks during the opening of Health Week activities at the Barbados Seventh-Day Adventist schools, Stuart said he was recently informed of the “disturbing fact” that seven out of every ten Barbadians had NCDs.
He said the place to start tackling this issue was in the schools where children could be informed about the need to maintain healthy bodies and lifestyles.
“If we have a population where every seven out of every ten persons are suffering from an NCD, that is going to affect the performance of those Barbadians when they grow up, when they enter the workforce.
“It is going to affect how much we are able to produce. It is going to affect their community lives and it is going to affect them in every facet of their existence. Overall, we are going to have an unhealthy society and that is not what we want as a people of Barbados,” Stuart said.
The Prime Minister praised the Health Week concept and commended the Church for consistently placing emphasis on healthy living.
“The Government over which I have the honour to preside is with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in ensuring that we shift from curative health care, spending time curing things that we could have avoided, to preventative health care where we accentuate the importance of healthy lifestyles.
“What you eat, what you drink, how much you exercise, how you treat your bodies ultimately will help us to wrestle these demons which we call non-communicable diseases to the ground,” Stuart said.
Speaking directly to the students, the country’s leader advised them to be selective about what they watched and listened to since a healthy mind was determined by what was fed into it.
“Now, you have to take your Prime Minister very seriously on this, because if there is one thing that you can learn from me is that I am very careful about what I listen to. I do not intend to allow my mind to be contaminated or to be rendered unhealthy by the very toxic and negative forms of diet that I have to deal with day from day, week to week, from month to month, and from year to year,” he said.