Participants at the start of the walk on their way to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) constitute the major cause of deaths in the region, but Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris said people can take control of their health and assured that his administration is promoting healthy lifestyles in St. Kitts and Nevis at the end of the Walk Against Diabetes organised by the St. Kitts Diabetes Association Saturday at the War Memorial in Fortlands, Basseterre.

“83 per cent of all deaths (in the region) are attributable to NCDs,” said Dr. Harris, who also has lead responsibility for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS issues in the CARICOM’s Quasi Cabinet. “Diabetes is one; cancer is another, strokes and other associated ailments — that is the bad news. The good news is that we have some power: We can take control of our health, and each and every one of us can do something about it.”

The walk, held under the theme “Diabetes: Protect Your Family,” was part of a week of activities held in the Federation to mark World Diabetes Day.

According to Prime Minister Harris, the more physical activity people get engaged in would be better for their health, as they would minimise the risk factors and advised them to become more involved in some form of physical activity. He cited activities like running, swimming, biking, football, cricket, and other games, urging the public to make activities a hobby and have fun doing it.

Dr. Harris also observed the government is recommending that people attempt to reduce significantly and eventually eliminate sugars, noting that if they begin steadily and consistently to reduce the sugar, it will help them.

“We will want, as part of our campaign to ensure a healthier people for St. Kitts and Nevis and for the region, to say again that we want fewer people in St. Kitts to be using tobacco and to engage in smoking, whether it is marijuana, cigarettes, whatever it is — reduce that,” said Prime Minister Harris, noting reductions “have proven to adequately help people to live more healthy lives and we want to encourage healthy living in the population of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Participants in the walk, which the participants from the War Memorial in Fortlands, through Bay Road to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and back, included the Minister of State for Health, Senator the Hon Wendy Phipps, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of health Mrs Deloris Stapleton-Harris, and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Senator the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett.

The Prime Minister thanked President of the St. Kitts Diabetes Association, Nurse Christine Wattley for her selfless efforts in the area of diabetes; the association’s Public Relations Officer Dr Reginald O’Loughlin, and all the others who are active participants and who at regular intervals seek to impose a consciousness on the people of St. Kitts and Nevis about the challenge of diabetes.

Prime Minister Harris also thanked The Ministry of Health, and singled out for mention Minister, Senator the Hon Wendy Phipps, and Permanent Secretary Mrs Deloris Stapleton-Harris, “for showing solidarity today and for their commitment to provide whatever resources we can to assist in this critical health challenge.”