The Non-Communicable Disease and Injury Prevention Unit
Health-conscious Jamaicans with improved health status to limit the impact of non-communicable diseases and injuries in our population.
Creating effective policies in fighting to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica by coordinating the NCD Agenda using effective surveillance of NCDs and injuries to make informed decisions.
Non-communicable diseases are those diseases that are not transferrable by contact but rather developed through family genetics, degenerative changes or unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries are a major public health burden in Jamaica, and are the leading cause of death. In 2015, an estimated seven out of ten Jamaicans died from the four major NCDs, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease [Ministry of Health 2018]. Many of these deaths, as well as lifelong disability and compromised quality of life could have been prevented. Added to this, injuries (Violence Related Injuries, Road Traffic Crashes, Suicide Attempts) also pose a burden on the health care system. A cost of care analysis, done in 2017 by the Violence Prevention Alliance, the University Hospital of the West Indies and other stakeholders, showed the financial cost of injuries to the health care system to be JMD12.6 billion per year. Approximately 28,000 cases of injury were reported in 2019 through the Jamaica Injury surveillance system. Violence and injuries are also preventable.
In response to this epidemic, the Cabinet approved in 2013 a comprehensive multisectoral National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs in Jamaica 2013 to 2018. This has provided the framework for the national response to NCDs. The goal is to reduce the burden of preventable morbidity and disability and avoid premature mortality due to non-communicable diseases and injuries by 25% by 2025. The plan covers seven main categories of diseases; these are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, sickle cell disease, mental health and injuries.
Priority Programme Areas and Strategies to reduce NCDs
There are five priority programme areas under the plan are:
- Risk factor reduction and health promotion
- Comprehensive and integrated disease management for NCDs and injuries;
- Surveillance, research, monitoring and evaluation
- Public policy and advocacy
- Leadership, governance and capacity building
The Unit employs three main strategies to reduce the burden of NCDs in Jamaica:
- Tracking the disease burden and utilizing the data to guide policies and programmes
- Reducing exposure of Jamaicans to the common risk factors for non-communicable diseases and injuries
- Strengthening health care systems for people with non-communicable diseases.
- Develop National Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control policies and strategies.
- Ensure an effective disease surveillance system for non-communicable diseases including injuries to define needs identify priorities, and guide policy and programme development.
- Provide leadership and coordination in the management of programmes for the prevention and control of chronic diseases and injuries
- Capacity building and technical support on Non-communicable diseases including injuries prevention and control.
- Monitor and evaluate NCDs response to ensure on-going feedback and program effectiveness.
- Support and foster multisectoral policies and partnerships for NCD prevention and control.
Dr. Nicola Skyers (Director, Acting)
Dr. Julia Rowe-Porter (Medical Epidemiologist)
Ms. Londi-ann Ottey (Programme Development Officer)