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More can be done by media to raise awareness of health issues

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Fri Sep 6, 2013

The just concluded Jennifer Jones Barbados Media Health Awards in Grenada brought home the point that more can, and should be done, by the media to bring greater awareness to health related issues in the region.{{more}}

The awards were named after Grenadian journalist Jennifer Jones, who succumbed to cancer in 2010, at the age of 37. She was a described as a lover of life, and did all she could, in her capacity as a journalist, to bring health and social issues to the forefront. At the time of her death, she was working on an anti- domestic violence project with an international organization.

The family and friends of Jones, like many others, have lost someone who could have contributed more to society, had they not been stopped short by a non-communicable disease (NCD).

It was recently reported that NCDs, identified as diabetes, cancers, hypertension, and diseases of the circulatory system, are responsible for between 60 and 70 per cent of all deaths in St Vincent and the Grenadines; the situation is not far different in other Caribbean countries.

Through education and awareness, we are seeing a decrease in new HIV/AIDS cases, and are approaching a number close to zero in terms of the number of newborn babies contracting the disease from their mothers. Similarly, we must increase our education and awareness of non-communicable diseases to the point where persons fear these killers and adjust their lifestyles to avoid being stricken by them, in the same manner that they do HIV/AIDS.

The Nation Publishing Company Ltd of Barbados, which collected most of the awards at last weekend’s event, publishes a monthly magazine, dedicated strictly to health issues.

There must be something that can be done between the media and the relevant authorities here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, to get the word out even louder, and on a more regular basis, even if not on the scale done in Barbados.

Non-communicable diseases take a social and economic toll on everyone. If we can nip these diseases in the bud, or even prevent them from occurring at all, not only would we be able to retain more disposable income, but we would also increase our quality and length of life.

SEARCHLIGHT thanks all those who congratulated us on our recent awards. We also express thanks to the families who opened up to us and gave permission to tell their stories, in an effort to save lives and lift the level of awareness and understanding about the respective issues.

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