Home Press Releases Health Ministry does soft launch of #KnowYourNumbers campaign: Local residents benefit from health screening

Health Ministry does soft launch of #KnowYourNumbers campaign: Local residents benefit from health screening

The Ministry of Health & Wellness yesterday had a soft launch for its #KnowYourNumbers campaign, an initiative intended to help Jamaicans fight the growing problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and premature death.

The launch took the form of a health fair, which was manned by the Clarendon Health Services together with a team from the head office of the Ministry of Health & Wellness.

It was staged at Stewart’s Hardware in May Pen, Clarendon and offered screening for a range of conditions – from diabetes to hypertension, high cholesterol, HIV, as well as cervical and prostate cancers. Also on offer were dental and eye examinations.

Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who was there to kick-start the campaign, said the goal is to give Jamaicans the benefit of current information about their health in order to inform lifestyle choices – including what they eat, how much they move and the requirement for routine health checks.

The #KnowYourNumbers campaign, which was earlier announced by the Minister during his Sectoral presentation on May 3, is being undertaken against the sobering reality of Jamaicans dying younger.

“When we analyse the deaths in 2020, we found that 59 per cent or 12,747, died early, that is, before their 75th birthday,” explained Minister Tufton.

NCDs are a big part of that picture.

In 2020, NCD deaths were the cause of some 144,853 potential years of life lost – a 30 per cent increase in potential years of life lost or 33,775 more years lost per year in a decade.

“This rate of increase for persons dying early from NCDs was greater than from all causes: 30 per cent increase for NCDs compared to 19 per cent for all causes,” the Minister explained in his Sectoral

Speaking in Clarendon yesterday, Dr. Tufton said it is therefore vital that persons take the initiative to know their numbers.

“What the data is suggesting is that more Jamaicans die from sudden and unexpected emergencies like heart attacks and strokes or lose their limbs because they have diabetes and don’t know about it. More Jamaicans die earlier than they ought to have if they knew their health status,” the Minister said.

“And so, the #KnowYourNumbers campaign is about helping people to know their health status so that if they are prone to any illness, they can correct it. If they are hypertensive, for example, they know the blood pressure can be controlled; cut back on the salts, do more exercise or take blood pressure medication,” Dr. Tufton added.

The Clarendon soft launch benefitted more than 200 people and saw more than 600 blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar checks done together with more than 80 dental exams and 85 HIV tests. Some 38 eye exams were also done and 30 reading glasses given to members of the public.

The next several months will see similar activations conducted across the island to provide Jamaicans with the chance to know their numbers and to make better lifestyle choices.