Minister announces chronic disease action plan
Focus on prevention and self-management
Newfoundland and Labrador now has a chronic disease action plan.
Health Minister John Haggie shared the province’s new strategy to manage chronic disease at an event in Gander on Monday, emphasizing prevention and self-management. Haggie said the plan represents a shift in focus for the health-care system.
“It’s always been, more or less, a disease-based illness system, not a health system,” he said. “We need to change that emphasis.”
The action plan tackles an issue that encompasses approximately 61 per cent of people in the province aged 12 and up, which is an alarmingly high number, Haggie said.
Chronic diseases include a large number of illnesses, including arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
To tackle these illnesses, the government is preparing to launch the BETTER program as a part of its initiative. This program will provide one-onone lifestyle coaching to help patients better manage themselves.
The BETTER program will be available in Happy Valley-goose Bay, Corner Brook, Burin and Bonavista.
Haggie highlighted that these centres were selected to help identify potential gaps in coverage.
“It was one of those initiatives that was felt to pick on areas of really high need. If you look at each of these areas, there are challenges around community care or around health outcomes,” he said.
The services are expected to be available by the end of the summer. Another aspect of the action plan is an expanded Healthline, which will include being able to access the services of registered dietitians.
Lastly, the action plan hopes to provide better screening for diseases such as cancer.
Haggie emphasized the importance of dealing with both the prevention side of things while also managing those who are currently afflicted by chronic diseases.
“The prevention pieces always has a long lead time, but in terms of effort, you will get the best value for the dollars you spend. It’ll take 15 or 20 years to show,” he said.
Health Minister John Haggie announces a new chronic disease action plan in Gander on Monday.