Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 28, 2022 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health and by extension, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis are working assiduously to implement a policy aimed at protecting the general public from the harmful effects of smoking by placing a ban on stimulants such as tobacco, cigarettes and cigars to name a few in public places.
The Ministry of Health is also working towards the development of a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Policy and has completed island consultations and focus group meetings to ascertain feedback from the general public as it relates to the Ministry’s policy imperatives. It is hoped that such a policy will reduce the rate of obesity and diabetes among the population.
During her July 27 appearance on ‘Working for You’, Verna Edwards France, Health Educator/Counselor, said protecting citizens and residents from the harmful effects of second-hand and third-hand smoke is important to protecting the public from contracting non-communicable diseases.
“What we are doing is trying to create those policies that will protect us [from the harmful effects of smoking]. To just come up with a policy is easier said than done because you are always going to get pushed back. St. Kitts and Nevis does not have a large tobacco smoking population, but we simply cannot put a ban on it because it affects so many other institutions,” said Counselor Edwards France. “We are looking at our tourism industry, the commercial partners that are within our society, those who distribute, etc. So, when we are sitting down and focusing on health we have to look at everything.”
Ms. Edwards France added that implementing policies is no easy task as consultations must be carried out with numerous stakeholders thus making the process difficult. She said, however, that the ministry prides itself on protecting the populace.
Equally important, she spoke about a number of educational programmes that the Ministry currently has to promote healthy eating lifestyles.
“We try our best in the Ministry of Health to ensure that we create and provide sufficient programmes that will provide the education that the general public needs no matter what the subject is,” she said. “It is one of the reasons we created “In Ya Kitchen” and with that programme, it is more than just showing people how to create quick meals. We have programmes within that programme to teach you how to read your nutrition facts label…”
In collaboration with Taiwan ICDF, the programme is intended to produce short videos and teach people how to prepare easy, delicious and healthy dishes that help people to maintain a healthy condition and manage their illnesses. In each video, the main ingredients are highlighted showing their health benefits to lower the risk of metabolic syndromes, such as high blood sugar, hypertension and high cholesterol.