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Antigua and Barbuda has taken a significant step towards improving healthcare standards in the region by seeking assistance from Japan in its fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Antigua and Barbuda government jointly sponsored a recent training program, which has sparked a new initiative to combat NCDs.
Various health professionals from different island nations, including Antigua and Barbuda, participated in the training session, which took place in Japan towards the end of last year.
The program, facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, focused on developing countermeasures for preventing and controlling NCDs.
Participants were required to conduct a situation analysis of NCDs in their respective countries as a prerequisite for the training.
Dr. Anju Smith, a community health specialist, represented Antigua and Barbuda in the programme and was impressed by Japan’s high standard of community health services.
As a result, she plans to introduce worker’s health checkups, inspired by Japan’s comprehensive healthcare approach, in Antigua and Barbuda.
The proposed two-year worker’s health checkup, health promotion, and activity programme will commence in February 2024 and conclude in November 2025.
Discussions have already begun with JICA and the acting Chief Medical Officer to ensure the successful implementation of the initiative.
In addition to worker’s health checkups, the training covered various topics, including dental perspectives on NCDs, epidemiological surveys, community health promotional activities, anti-smoking measures, and metabolic syndrome and exercise programs for the elderly.
Dr. Smith’s proposal for worker’s health checkups has garnered support from various stakeholders, including lab technicians at Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre and representatives from the Medical Benefits Scheme.
Plans are underway to form a committee or working group to further refine the proposal and gather assistance for its successful rollout and completion.
The collaboration between JICA and Antigua and Barbuda health officials underscores the commitment of both parties to improving community health and addressing the challenges posed by NCDs in the region.
With the adoption of innovative approaches inspired by the Japanese healthcare model, Antigua and Barbuda are poised to make significant strides in healthcare delivery and disease prevention.