Permanent Secretary Skerritt (left) and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is set to launch an initiative geared towards promoting healthy lifestyles and combating Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Andrew Skerritt, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws announced on the “Working for You” programme Wednesday.

SKN Moves, which will be launched on Friday, forms part of a regional initiative, Caribbean Moves — a re-energizing and intensification of the health promotion efforts through creative and innovative multi-sectoral collaboration.

“This initiative is very important because Non-Communicable Diseases is critical, is a big problem Caribbean-wide and in our Federation. Three out of four deaths in the English-speaking Caribbean can be attributed to NCDs,” said Dr. Laws. “And let’s bring the picture closer home. When you look at our statistics coming out of the Ministry of Health as much as 83 percent of our deaths are as a result of cancers, heart diseases/attacks, strokes… and the complications of diabetes.”

Permanent Secretary Skerritt shared similar sentiments and noted the importance of practicing healthy lifestyles.

“Chronic Non Communicable Diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Federation. We don’t want to outspend ourselves. We want to have a sustainable form of healthcare. It costs a lot to treat diabetes, hypertension, strokes, build renal facilities,” he said. “So, if we can encourage change through physical activity, through healthier dieting habits, through knowing your status… these things are quite important.”

The initiative was pioneered by Honourable Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Minister of Health, who then introduced it to the wider CARICOM Heads of Government in 2018. It promotes physical activity, healthy eating and age-appropriate health checks at the school, workplace and community levels, and is part of a greater CARICOM initiative to change Caribbean culture toward a lifestyle of regular physical activity and healthier diets.

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who is the CARICOM lead head with respect to Health and Human Resource has extended an invitation to Dr. Tufton, to be a part of the launch in St. Kitts and Nevis.