‘Silent killers’ in society not sexy
September 28, 2007

‘Silent killers’ in society not sexy

Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater has warned that the silent killers in society are really the ones that are “un-sexy.”{{more}}

Dr Slater said that while he is not down playing the importance of advocating protecting ones self from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, people, however, had a penchant for things that were “sexy” and were more likely to pay more attention to HIV/AIDS than non-communicable diseases such as heart disease.

The Health Minister, who was speaking at the Eastern Caribbean Trading Agriculture and Development (ECTAD) Workshop last Tuesday, said, as a result, non-communicable diseases continued to be the “silent killers.”

Dr Slater warned that while the “sexy” things hold people’s interest, if they do not eat healthily, they would not live long enough to enjoy sexy things.

The Health Minister, who said that he likes to lead by example, disclosed that he enjoys shopping for local food at the market, and believes that it was time that Vincentians become proud of what they cultivated.

Dr Slater admitted that he was disturbed to see so many apples and vegetables such as English potatoes that were not grown locally being sold in the country, and said that if it were up to him “personally”, he would not have these goods shipped to the country.

He, however, believes that, although local food might be more expensive, the overall health benefits are priceless, and Vincentians should “acquire a taste” and make the “sacrifice” to purchase local food.

He said that while people blamed Value Added Tax (VAT) on the rising cost of food, it was, however, because of the skyrocketing increase in the price of food globally why foods were so expensive.

Dr Slater criticized countries such as the USA, which he said are now using their corn to make alcohol for cars, instead of feeding the hungry people throughout the world. He, however, believes that it is time that this country also practiced protectionism and utilised the food grown for the benefit of the people.

The Health Minister also criticized the private sector for depending so much on the government, instead of coming up with projects. He unapologetically called them “lazy”, and said they were supposed to be the “engine growth.”