In the Caribbean, chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the cause of the majority of premature adult deaths. They pose a serious threat to health and development.
NCD mortality in the Caribbean is the highest in the Americas. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, all prevalent in Saint Lucia, are caused by biological factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, high blood sugar and high blood cholesterol. Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for heart disease and has been shown to affect 25.8 percent of the population in Saint Lucia.
With a noted decline in visits to Wellness Centres due to COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is reaching out to persons with NCDs who are now administering self-care, via the chronic health passport. The Ministry of Health launched the chronic health passport as part of activities observing Caribbean Wellness Day. Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert said the chronic health passport is also useful to family members and caregivers.
Caribbean Wellness Day was agreed upon by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2007. In 2011, Caribbean countries committed to reducing NCD deaths by 25 percent, by the year 2025.