Health Minister Discusses Advancing Key Actions to Reduce Violence in the Commonwealth Region

Geneva, Switzerland – Minister of Health, Dr. the Honourable Christopher Tufton, and his technical team, have discussed advancing key actions to reduce violence in the Commonwealth region. These discussions were had as part of the Commonwealth Health Minister’s meeting taking place at the World Health Organization in Geneva Switzerland from May 21-May 30, 2017.

The ‘Global status report on violence prevention 2014’ reveals that 475,000 people were murdered in 2012, and homicide is the third leading cause of death globally for males aged 15–44 years, highlighting the urgent need for more decisive action to prevent violence.

In highlighting this need to reduce violence, Dr. Tufton said “the socio-economic burden of violence and injuries that stem from violence,  negatively impacts families and the health sector’s ability to deliver healthcare, in fact, in 2004 the direct and indirect economic costs of violence were equivalent to 4% of GDP in Jamaica.”

Some of the key actions discussed to reduce violence included raising the profile of violence on national agendas; understanding cultural norms and designing appropriate community interventions ; as well as designing strategies to empower victims of abuse.

The consequences of violence on physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health often last a lifetime. Violence also contributes to leading causes of death such as cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS, because victims are at an increased risk of adopting behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug misuse, and unsafe sex.

Jamaica has developed The National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for the period 2013 to 2018, which focuses on the underlying risk factors of NCDs and includes a focus on violence prevention programmes.