About our Public Health Challenges

NCDs, A Critical Public Health Issue

At one of this week’s press conferences the MinHealth reported that GOA considers the Kingdom’s condition for financial aid, by which Aruba must reduce the monthly cost of AZV by Awe 5M, contradictory, because Covid19 caused an increase in expenses. Covid19 added Awg 38M to healthcare cost to date. However, If AZV costs are not reduced, The Kingdom will not grant the financial aid needed.

So I looked into the issue, thanks friends for providing me with interesting facts.

According to PubMed Central, affiliated to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of medicine NIH/NLM, we are in the middle of a NCD epidemic in Aruba.

Introducing NCD: Non Communicable diseases, otherwise known as lifestyle diseases, that may also be cause by dirty air, soil and environment. Here are the top four


Heart Disease



The four are responsible for 58.16 % of deaths in Aruba, Cancer being the highest at 23.79%, then Heart Disease, 20.11%, then Cerebrovascular Disease, 8.22% and Diabetes 6.05%.

Aruba had the highest percentages in the Caribbean of deaths due to cancer, between 2005 and 2014. I will search for info about the second half of the last decade, but chances are that the percentages are similar, perhaps higher.  

Basically, the Caribbean region faces the highest burden from NCDs for developing nations in the Americas, and chronic NCDs are the leading cause of death

The reasons for the high mortality of NCDs in these Caribbean countries and territories, says PubMed, remain a critical public health issue that warrants further investigation.

WHY: NCD-associated risk factors such as tobacco smoking, harmful use of alcohol, poor diet, and physical inactivity substantially affect NCD mortality.

So here you have it, why does AZV spends so much money? Because it has to do battle with NCDs, without any help from us, we drink too much, we smoke too much, we eat too much fast food and cheap Chinese, and we are lazy. We don’t move.

Dietist Charlene Leslie: Crushing non-communicable diseases is a long and complex process. Health Promotion and prevention is not sexy, and does not help win votes as it costs money while it can take years or even decades to see substantial results.
It should be dealt with on different levels: Knowledge, skills, environment and availability and multi-level policies.
Unhealthy lifestyles and weight have become socially accepted, some even get peer pressure or bullied for wanting to make healthier choices.
I must say it is beautiful to see that individuals are becoming more and more aware about their own health and take measures into their own hand.
I don’t want to come off sounding negative. But in my experience many are eager to say that more health promotion and prevention matters are needed, however not enough is has been done to date and support to do so (jobs, finances) are hard to find.

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May 22, 2020
Rona Coster