Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin represented Belize at the 52nd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which was held last week in Washington DC. According to a government press release sent this morning, health officials have devised and agreed upon an action plan which aims at reducing premature deaths to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by the year 2025. The press release stated that plan calls to promote the prevention and control NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease, which are the leading NCDs, found to be related to a common set of risk factors. The action plan, according to the press release, also involves expanding and providing universal access to health services, reduce tobacco intake by 30%, promote health diets to reduce impact on children, and improve surveillance of risk factors for NCDs. Member countries of PAHO have pledged to give priority to NCDs in their health development agendas, while PAHO pledged to provide technical assistance to countries in order to strengthen and monitor the progress towards the goals of this joint plan.