The Government of Barbados, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization are holding a high-level technical meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The discussion focused on progress, challenges and recommendations for scaling up multi-sectoral action on PHC and mental health and for scaling up action to save and improve lives.
To this end, WHO has released an information portal on SIDS in SIDS, which highlights some of the highest prevalence rates of SIDS and mental health risks in the world. Data show that more than half of people with SIDS die prematurely from SIDS, and rates of hypertension exceed 30% in almost all countries.
The ten countries with the highest obesity rates worldwide are small island nations. SIDS is also estimated to have the highest prevalence of diabetes in adults worldwide. In the Caribbean and Pacific, rates of mental health conditions are as high as 15%.
“Countries are facing repeated crises. The climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with poverty, unemployment, inequality and the marginalization of minority communities, are driving the rise of non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “To solve these problems, we need to hear from affected communities about the challenges they face and the solutions that work in different circumstances. We look forward to working with SIDS to achieve ambitious outcomes for SEN and mental health.
SIDS countries are disproportionately affected by the physical and mental health impacts of the climate crisis. The high prevalence of risk factors for NCDs such as smoking, low physical activity, malnutrition and obesity, as well as the poor integration of ECD and mental health services in Primary Health Care (PHC) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), have left the population vulnerable. Getting seriously ill with COVID-19. This has put further pressure on already strained health systems. Progress and investment in the prevention and control of NCDs, as well as the promotion and maintenance of mental health, remain insufficient.
“SIDS has a history of influencing the global agenda to tackle major challenges, shape solutions and advance development,” said the Honorable Dr. Jerome Walcott, Barbados’ Minister of Health and Welfare. “We have identified challenges and drivers while taking action, mobilizing resources and collaborating with non-traditional partners. We need to critically examine initiatives that are targeted against the University and have the potential to positively impact and improve the health and well-being of our citizens.”
At the high-level meeting, countries identified key recommendations for scaling up action on NCDs and mental health to achieve the SDG target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs and suicide by a third by 2030.
Recommendations include specific actions to accelerate cooperation on the early detection, prevention and management of mental health disorders and mental health conditions under the SIDS; strengthening the health system in the context of the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic; CVD prevention with an emphasis on health promotion and obesity control; Provide adequate, sustainable resources (financial and human) for VPO and mental health; and strengthening health information systems. These proposals will also form the final document for the ministerial meeting in June 2023.
The meeting also heard that SIDS is at the forefront of developing low-cost, effective solutions to reduce the most common risk factors for SIDS and mental health. Examples of successful prevention and treatment interventions in SIDS countries include the use of health taxes; integrating health into climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts; physical and mental health and wellness campaigns; expanding health and mental health treatment as part of national UHC efforts; and supporting NCD and mental health services during health emergencies.
The meeting also provided a platform to address the commercial drivers of the LLC. Trade agreements and policies have accelerated the shift away from traditional diets and nutrition through their effects on the price, availability, and promotion of foods, tobacco, and alcohol. This process has contributed to alarmingly high rates of obesity, food insecurity and STIs in SIDS countries.
People living with NCDs and mental health conditions in several SIDS countries shared their experiences. The meeting was attended by health professionals, civil society representatives, scientists and development partners.
“Achieving UHC and building climate-resilient societies will be important in tackling NCD and mental health risk factors, as well as ensuring people living with these conditions have access to treatment and care,” said Dr. Bente Mikkelsen. “Based on the outcomes of this meeting, the Ministerial Meeting in June 2023 will set an ambitious agenda to accelerate the potential of SIDS countries to deliver life-saving NCD and mental health outcomes and provide global leadership in NCD and mental illness. health care agenda.”
This agenda will also inform and contribute to preparations for the 2023 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting, the Fourth UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Higher Education in 2025, and future global summits on mental health. health and climate change.