Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told more than 300 members of the Jamaican Diaspora community in New York that the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst, but not the only cause of most of the over seven million deaths linked to COVID-19 over the past two and a half years.
Rather, he said, most of these deaths were a result of persons suffering from compromised immune systems from lifestyle related illness like diabetes, lung diseases, cancers and cardiovascular complications.
This should cause us all to see lifestyle diseases as an even bigger threat to life than the COVID virus.
“We must do more to change lifestyle practices to address high mortality rates this now causes,” Tufton said.
Tufton was guest speaker at the LJDR Davis Foundation fundraising Charity Gala.
According to Tufton, approximately 40 million persons die each year from these type of ailments and many more live lives knowingly or unknowingly in pain and suffering. As a result, he said, more effort is needed to support heathy lifestyle practices like proper nutrition, exercise and rest.
Tufton told the audience that partnership in providing a holistic solution to healthy living is the way forward. He said that apart from proper nutrition, exercise and rest, there is evidence to indicate that voluntarism is both a source of support for those in need as well as a source of therapy for those who give. He told his audience that Jamaica and the Ministry of Health and Wellness was ready to welcome partnerships in public health as “we believe and support the one world, one health philosophy”.
The LJDR Foundation celebrated its 10th year at the fundraising event and have had several missions to Jamaica supporting a number of health-related projects including the renovation of the Chapleton Hospital and the provision of healthcare outreach for residents of the Brandon Hill community in Northern Clarendon.