President David Granger has outlined a three-pronged approach that is aimed at reducing incidents of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).It involves countryside dissemination of public information on the dangers of alcohol and tobacco, and unhealthy diet and physical inactivity; promulgation of initiatives led by all sections of society, especially the media, stakeholders in the entertainment industry, and trade unions; and a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach to implement prevention and control measures.The Head of State made this disclosure at the launch of the Presidential Commission on NCDs at the Umana Yana on Saturday.The President will chair the Commission and take the leading role to drive these approaches in an effort to reduce the prevalence of NCDs, particularly heart diseases and diabetes which plague the Guyanese society.The Head of State pointed out that as a result of lifestyle and cultural carelessness, more than half of the country’s adult population suffer from an NCD. In fact, almost seven out of every ten deaths of Guyanese aged between 23 and 60 years are caused by cancers, chronic lung diseases, diabetes, heart diseases and hypertension. Additionally, uncontrolled use of tobacco and alcohol and poor eating habits have serious economic implications, particularly in rural and hinterland communities.“The public must be better informed of the need for lifestyle changes and choices in order to reduce risk… NCDs are a serious threat to life, and (are) the leading cause of premature death. NCDs are a pressing problem, and unfortunately, the burden falls mainly on the poor… Reducing risk factors, therefore, will not only save lives, but will save money,” he is quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.In 2007, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) convened a special Regional Summit on NCDs Caribbean, which resulted in regional leaders issuing a 15-point declaration known as the Declaration of Port-of-Spain. In fulfilment of that Declaration, Guyana developed the Guyana Strategic Plan for the Integrated Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and their Risk Factors 2013-2020.Subsequently, in 2014, the then Government established a National Commission for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, in her remarks, informed that the report issued at the Caricom Heads of Government Summit in July revealed that Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago were ranked as first and second respectively in terms of the prevalence and deaths as a result of heart diseases and diabetes.She assured that the Public Health Ministry “will intensify the campaign against the perpetuation of high incidents of premature deaths from NCDs, in order to ensure a sustainable economic framework pillared by a healthy nation, and to fulfil objectives of the 2030 Agenda.”The minister also informed that the ministry, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), has already commenced work in regard to tackling NCDs with the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill.Moreover, with support from the Presidential Commission, the ministry plans to implement measures to abolish the marketing of tobacco to minors, and eliminate exposure to second-hand smoking in all public spaces. Other actions will be taken against other risk factors, especially those that affect children and youths.Similar sentiments were expressed by PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Dr William Adu-Krow, who said this is an opportune time for Guyanese to come together to deal with NCDs.