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Briefing session at the National Assembly on Non Communicable Diseases

Paramaribo, November 23, 2011 – On the 18 November 2011, a briefing session on Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) was held at the National Assembly. The session was prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Ministry of Health to raise awareness of the situation in Suriname concerning NCDs. The initiative is part of the Institutional Strengthening Programme signed by UNDP and the National Assembly.

At the session, the Speaker of Parliament, Jennifer Geerlings-Simons, welcomed the members of the National Assembly, followed by the representative of the Bureau of Public Health, Ministry of Public Health, Maureen van Dijk, UNDP Country Director, Thomas Gittens, and the acting PAHO/WHO Representative, Kathleen Israël.

Members from PAHO/WHO informed the attendees about the economic impact of NCDs and the need for a multi-level approach to prevent and control these diseases. Representatives of the Ministry of Health, Stichting Voedingscentrum, Stichting Diabetes Educatie and Boeroeswing Paramedische Praktijk analysed in the session the present and future policies related to NCDs in Suriname.

Speaker Geerlings-Simons closed the session highlighting the importance of the information shared to understand the challenges facing Suriname and to inform decision making on future priorities to control and promote prevention of NCDs.

Four main NCDs - cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic lung diseases and diabetes - kill three in five people in Suriname and worldwide, resulting in negative socioeconomic impacts, particularly in developing nations.

In the Americas, the Caribbean region has the highest prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases. Following global and regional trends, Suriname is experiencing rising mortality rates attributable to NCDs. In 2009, 60.5% of all deaths among the ten leading mortality causes were attributed to non-communicable diseases.

Up to 80% of premature NCD deaths and diseases could be prevented by taking action on individual and collective levels such as reducing the exposure of populations to tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.

The session at the National Assembly was a follow up to the High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases held last September 2011. At the conference, Governments pledged to work with the United Nations to adopt before the end of 2012 targets and policies to combat cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.  


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