Ashley Lashley, the reigning Miss World Barbados 2018, is continuing her fight against non- communicable diseases.(NCDs)
Lashley told the media at the Organization of American States office in Harts Gap, Christ Church that she will be hosting an international conference from July 8th to July 15th to raise awareness about the growing problem.
“We will be hosting our international conference for Schools Against Non- Communicable Diseases. We are trying to get everyone on board to realize the whole issue of non-communicable diseases at a national and international level,” she said stressing that many Barbadians are affected by non-communicable diseases and it is reaching an alarming rate.
“It is becoming an epidemic which needs to be curbed today,”she said.
Organization of American States Representative to Barbados Francis A McBarnette applauded Lashley’s initiative as he agreed that the situation is critical.
“For instance, we have children now at a very early age with hypertension and we have a lot of severe cases of asthma and that is one of the NCDs. We have to get into the homes and the schools to address this problem. It has an impact not only on lives but on the economics of the country because, at the end of the road, these things need to be addressed because somebody has to pay for it,” he said.
McBarnette highlighted that NCDs can become a major economic cost to government if they are not curbed in the initial stages.
“What is going to happen here in Barbados, if not the rest of the Caribbean, is that you are going to spend a big chunk of your resources [dealing] with these issues when you have large slates of your population with hypertension and diabetes and the impact as people have lost legs and need [prosthetics]. If we can avoid it, this is money that we can save and put into education and other social services for our population,” he said, adding that if governments treat NCDs in the early stages, then it would lower the cost of their entire health bill.
“We cannot start when it is full blown and then we will end up paying for it,” he said.
Lashley added that she would like the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to ban soft drinks in schools from the next academic term.
“I am calling on [them] to stop the sale of soft drinks in the schools next semester because childhood obesity is affecting too many of our school children today. We need to tackle the whole issue of non- communicable diseases before it gets any worse,” she said. (LG)