Minister Tufton Warns of Jamaica’s “Sick Population” Amidst Alarming Increase in Non-Communicable Diseases

Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton – Screenshot via YouTube

Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has expressed concern over the significant rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) within the country.

He described the Jamaican population as “sick” due to the alarming increase in NCDs over the past decade. Statistics reveal that one in three Jamaicans suffers from hypertension, one in two is obese, and one in eight has diabetes.

In an effort to combat this health crisis, the Ministry of Health and Wellness launched the ‘Know Your Numbers’ campaign in May, urging Jamaicans to be aware of their NCD status.

As part of this campaign, a series of health fairs will be organised by Members of Parliament (MP) over the next three months. Each MP will be allocated $2 million towards these health fairs, emphasizing the importance of public health and leadership in addressing the issue.


The program entails providing $1 million to each MP to host at least two health fairs, with one of them potentially focusing on back-to-school health initiatives.

MPs are also encouraged to allocate up to $500,000 of the $2 million towards upgrading health centers in their respective constituencies that require improvement for implementing the Know Your Numbers campaign.

Dr. Tufton expects that approximately 19,000 individuals will undergo screening during the three-month period. Testing will be conducted in collaboration with regional health authorities and the National Health Fund, followed by counseling and support services.

Those found to be in good health will be encouraged to maintain their well-being, while those requiring assistance will receive support through the health system, starting at the health centers.

Dr. Tufton stressed the need to address key factors contributing to poor health profiles, including tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful alcohol consumption, and unhealthy diets. By tackling these issues, he believes that both individual and collective health profiles can be positively impacted.

The situation in Jamaica is exacerbated by the fact that four out of every ten individuals living with NCDs are unaware of their condition. Dr. Tufton highlighted the concerning trend of Jamaicans falling ill at earlier stages of life, resulting in premature deaths before the average life expectancy of 75 years.

Through initiatives like the Know Your Numbers campaign and the involvement of Members of Parliament, the Jamaican government aims to address the pressing health challenges faced by the population. By promoting awareness, prevention, and support services, they strive to improve the overall health and well-being of Jamaicans.


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