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Saturday, February 27, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Ministry of Health has renewed the fight
against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD s)
which, it says, needs to be tackled at both the pre-
school and primary school level.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday
revealed that officials of the Health Ministry met
with soft drink and juice manufacturers on February
3, during which they challenged them to gradually
reduce the amount of sugar being used in their prod-
During yesterday s weekly media conference at the
Ministry of Health, Park and Edward Streets, Port-
of-Spain, Deyalsingh said, "Our children consume
too many soft drinks and that is the main avenue
for increased sugar intake."
Referring to the PNM manifesto which guides
ministerial policy, Deyalsingh added, "Our policy
perspective at the Ministry of Health is not to ban
anything or legislate anything as yet."
He said local stakeholders had voluntarily accepted
the challenge which was in line with a proposal from
the World Health Organization for these manufacturers
to ensure that their products contributed no more
than ten per cent to daily calorie intake in each drink.
Deyalsingh admitted, "We don t expect these man-
ufacturers to do that cold turkey."
However, he said, they were to return within three
months with a proposal to gradually reduce their
sugar content over a reasonable period of time.
Presenting some alarming statistics, Dr Rohit Doon,
Advisor, Health Promotions, said, "Fuelled by our
quest for modernisation, the door has been opened
to the rapid rise in diseases of modernisation."
He added, "The Caribbean region, and in particular
T&T, is now a hot house for cardio-vascular dis-
Doon said factors such as alcohol consumption,
tobacco use, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating
habits had led to increases in obesity and other
diseases in both men and women.
A national survey of primary school children had
confirmed an increase in obesity from 11 per cent,
in 1999, to 23 per cent in 2009.
Saying that the issue of NCD s was not unique to
T&T, Doon said the ministry intended to focus on
eight priority areas over the next five years.
Revealing the impetus behind the ministry s
renewed efforts, Doon said NCD s accounted for 62
per cent of all deaths annually, which translated into
6,629 deaths every year as a result of NCD s.
Doon sought to underscore the importance of the
ministry s efforts as he said, "We are now in the
midst of an obesity epidemic in our school children."
He said while the ministry would continue to treat
people at the hospital, they needed to get to the root
of the problem, hence their first area of focus was
the prevention and control of childhood obesity.
Explaining the recommended sugar intake for a
child daily, Doon said, ideally, a child should have
no more than three teaspoons of sugar.
The recommended sugar intake for an adult male
was nine teaspoons, while six teaspoons were rec-
ommended for an adult female.
Our children consume
too many soft drinks
There remains only one con-
firmed case of the Zika virus in
This is after the two samples
submitted to the Caribbean Pub-
lic Health Agency (CARPHA) last
week tested negative.
The samples were taken from
two members of a Chaguanas
family who exhibited symptoms
of the virus.
Announcing this at the Min-
istry of Health s weekly media
briefing yesterday, Health Min-
ister Terrence Deyalsingh reas-
sured the nation that all available
resources were being used to
assist in the fight against the
Meanwhile, the number of
confirmed H1N1 cases has risen
to 81, with seven more cases
being reported between last week
He said while 103,593 homes
had been inspected across the
country, approximately 39,109
homes had not been, because of
Deyalsingh said while the
authorities were doing their part
to eradicate the mosquito pop-
ulation, residents had the main
responsibility to ensure their
premises were free and clear of
A total of 217 dengue fever
cases have been reported, with
nine chikungunya cases recorded
for the year so far.
Each regional corporation has
also received a grant of $500,000
from the Ministry of Rural
Development and Local Gov-
ernment, to assist in their
respective public health cam-
Revealing that the last ship-
ment of 20,000 vaccines was
due to arrive in the country early
next week, Deyalsingh took great
pains to explain that with the
2015/2016 flu vaccine coming to
an end in May/June, global pro-
duction of vaccines for the cur-
rent flu season had ceased.
He said there would be a gap
between when the last shipment
of flu vaccines and the new ship-
ment of vaccines for 2016/2017
Deyalsingh said the new ship-
ment of vaccines would be here
by late August/September.
With the flu season running
from October of the previous
year to May of the current year,
Deyalsingh said, "We are coming
to the end of this year s flu sea-
However, the ministry had
ordered an extra 20,000 doses
"to take this country up to a total
of 116,000 doses of H1N1 vac-
cines from the typical 6,000
doses," Deyalsingh said.
Also delivering brief remarks
yesterday was CARPHA s exec-
utive director Dr James
Hospedales and Asst Director
Surveillance, Disease Prevention
and Control, Dr Karen Polson-
Edwards who elaborated on the
work being done by the agency
to fight the virus.
Hospedales said they had
recently launched an application
for cellphones seeking to educate
children on the eradication of
No new Zika cases in T&T
...Mother, son free of virus
Members of the Bishop Anstey Junior Choir during their winning performance of Dingolay Oh in Class JR-C8 Primary Folk Song Choir
during the 31st T&T Music Festival at Queen's Hall, St Ann's on Thursday. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
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