The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

July 29th - August 4th 2016


Trinidad and Tobago: Civil Society Rises to the NCD Challenge

Trinidad and Tobago: civil society rises to the NCD challenge
The multisectoral response to the NCD epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago was given a welcome boost recently when a host of civil society organisations met in Port of Spain to discuss accelerating action against chronic diseases.

Held on July 28, the meeting brought together some 50 dieticians, faith-based organisations, campaigning charities, disability action groups, the national Olympic Committee, youth groups, communications agencies, drug awareness groups, the Mothers’ Union and the Breastfeeding Association, among others. They were joined by traditional health NGOs, representatives of the Ministry of Health and the newly formed Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance. Read more

Medical Expert Urges Better T&T Health Care

Prof Sir Michael Marmot
President of the World Medical Association (WMA) Prof Sir Michael Marmot says the cost of T&T not doing anything to improve its health care system will be enormous not just financially but in terms of its citizens’ well-being.  

He was responding to several questions posed to him by the T&T Sunday Guardian.
One of the questions asked was if he could quantify the savings for T&T on medical expenditure if preventable health measures, Health in All Policies (HiAP), and the measures which he was advocating were adopted rather than treating diseases when they occurred. Read more

HCC Brief: The Implementation of Taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages by the Government of Barbados

This policy brief provides an overview of the approaches used by the Barbados Ministry of Finance in the adoption of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxation.
HCC Brief: The Implementation of Taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages by the Government of Barbados
It is hoped that the target audiences will gain a greater understanding of the policy process leading to more strategic and effective advocacy for taxation on SSBs.

This is one of a series of briefs aimed at building the case for non-communicable disease (NCD) policy action across non-health, health-influencing government sectors in the Caribbean.
The brief forms part of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s (HCC) ongoing NCD advocacy agenda. Download here
Guardian Group

Workplace Wellness @ Guardian Group

… the all-important steps towards change in behaviour and lifestyle.
Workplace Wellness @ Guardian Group
REALITY - Today, many leading authorities on health and wellness have signalled that an epidemic of ‘lifestyle diseases’ has developed and has led to a decreased quality of life, premature death and disability, and increased health care costs. These lifestyle diseases result from an unhealthy way of life, such as inactivity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and frequent alcohol consumption all of which are the drivers of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pulmonary conditions.

What is also of concern is that research has shown that chronic diseases, which were once thought to be a problem of older age groups, have now shifted, with alarming negative impact on the working age group – those in the prime of their working careers. Read more

Inhaling Second-hand Marijuana Fumes Increases the Risks of Heart Attacks and Strokes

Inhaling Second-hand Marijuana Fumes Increases the Risks of Heart Attacks and Strokes
Inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke for just one minute may damage blood vessels, new research out of the United States shows. It also suggests that our bodies may take three times longer to recover than after breathing second-hand tobacco smoke, according to a paper published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology say their findings on rats will further dispel the “widespread belief” that cannabis is harmless, moreover. Inhaling second-hand marijuana fumes on a regular basis could cause the arteries to harden, increasing the risks of heart attacks and strokes, they maintain. Read more

T&T Health Ministry Finalising NCD Policy

T&T Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh
A national policy on non-communicable diseases (NCD) will be introduced within the next two weeks, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said yesterday. It will be based on an examination of factors creating inequity throughout the health system, he said, adding that it was unfortunate that the disadvantaged and vulnerable are often the ones who carry the heaviest burden. Read more
In a related article entitled Biased Focus on Physical Health, Caroline C Ravello a Mental Health/Disability Advocate puts the case for Mental Health for greater recognition of mental health as a major health challenge.

Nothing and no one places a duty on our health ministry to reduce stigma and discrimination for the mentally ill. In fact, for all the years of healthcare in T&T, I cannot recall a T&T prime minister openly making a case for mental health either, nor have I heard a finance minister presenting fiscal policies with adequate resource allocations for mental illness.
And even as Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, with pride and pomp, announces a new strategic programme of interventions for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), I am left to wonder what is the level of his ministry’s considerations for the issue of chronic mental illnesses to be counted among the NCDs, as some jurisdictions have done? Read more

Black Men Urged To Confront Prostate Cancer Risk

Black Men Urged To Confront Prostate Cancer Risk
Black Men Urged To Confront Prostate Cancer Risk – Research Reveals Staggering Low Awareness Of The Disease. Although black men face double the risk of prostate cancer compared to white men, and a shocking one in 12 will die from the disease, 86 per cent are unaware of their heightened danger, research from men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK revealed recently.

The poll, released during Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month, exposed a widespread lack of awareness of both the disease and the gland itself amongst black men. The prostate gland is an important component of the male sex system, but according to the poll, 92 per cent don't know what the sex gland does for them, 62 per cent don't know where it is located in the body, and nearly a fifth (19 per cent) are unaware they even have a prostate. Read more

Victorious Ladies of Cancer Support Services Retreat

Victorious Ladies of Cancer Support Services Retreat
On Saturday July 9, 2016, the Victorious Ladies Support Group of Cancer Support Services had their Annual Retreat under the theme “Turning My Suffering into Gold” facilitated by Counselor Rev. Paul Leacock. The day began with a “get to know you” exercise followed by a treasure hunt under the theme “Finding the Treasure among the Trash” which the ladies had lots of fun and laughter. At the end of the treasure hunt there was a piece of gold which when found was the lady’s to keep.

After, the ladies had a session on “Finding the Gold – Lessons from Suffering” in a nutshell, finding the gold through your challenges. In the evening session one of the ladies hosted a “talk show” where they were treated to make overs, a fashion show, a monologue by a Barbadian dramatist and prizes. To end the day, the ladies had a toast on their journeys thus far.

Visit Cancer Support Services Website here or their Facebook page here.

Coca-Cola is Trying to Use the Olympic Games to Set Sales Records

Coca-Cola is trying to use the Olympic Games to set sales records
The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that as the 2016 Olympic Games are just beginning, while athletes from all over the world are in Rio trying to set athletic records, Coca-Cola is trying to use the Olympic Games to set sales records.  

In the coming weeks, Coke will be smothering broadcasts of the Games with endless commercials for its sugary drinks, as well as using social media to engage young people.  That kind of advertising seeks to achieve “innocence by association”—associating the company and its products with the uplifting spirit of the Games and with athletic excellence.  And we can be sure that Coke’s sunny ads will mask the fact that sugar drinks are a major cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. (A 2015 study concluded that sugar drinks cause about 184,000 deaths annually.)
To see the real effects of Coke and other sugar drinks, watch this short video, Change the Tune below.
Change the Tune
Watch this short video, “Change the Tune,” which reinterprets Coca-Cola’s famous “Hilltop” ad, perhaps the most famous commercial ever
Learn more about the health impacts of sugar drinks here.

Sugar Advocacy Toolkit

Sugar Advocacy Toolkit
Obesity remains epidemic. Diabetes is rampant and striking younger children. Heart, liver, and dental diseases afflict millions and cost billions. One key contributor to these chronic health issues: There is too much sugar in our food and beverage products. It’s not just a matter of telling people not to consume sugar. Food makers add sugar to 68 percent of packaged foods—and most of us are unaware of it all. Soda companies alone spend a billion dollars a year marketing sugary soda, sports, energy, and fruit-flavored drinks to children, youth, and other vulnerable populations. We are awash in added sugar, and for the sake of our own and our kids’ health, we need to do something about it. Read more

Healthy Cooking for Children

Teaching children to adopt a healthy lifestyle can begin by showing them how to choose nutritious foods, plan a balanced meal using the available local produce, and make a kitchen garden – planting short crops (e.g. tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, ochro, lettuce, local seasonings, etc) to be included in the menu using the farm to table approach. Other activities that you can include are grocery shopping, visiting the market in their community and meeting with vendors and local farmers, working with recipes to prepare tasty dishes, and engaging in physical activity (be it walking, jogging, aerobics, cricket, basketball and football).

All of these practical approaches mentioned can be part of a coordinated school nutrition and/or health programme that a collaborative team of trained personnel (including registered dietitians, community nutritionists, public health educators, chefs, farmers, food demonstrators, caterers, and teachers) working together with meal managers, parents, caregivers, and parent teachers associations, might wish to utilise in order to improve the health status of children. This of course, may probably aid them in better understanding basic concepts in food preparation, nutrition, maintaining health and preventing illness. Read more
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Latest
Another Fast Food Outlet?
Will it be any healthier...?

Back to School is coming
Another form of stress... School transitions are those moves children and young people make between schools as well as between class levels. 

Read more from the Heart & Stroke Foundation newsletter here.
World Heart Day 2016
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NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • Update to Appendix 3 to WHO Global NCD Action Plan
  • Breastfeeding: A key to sustainable development
  • Living Longer, Living Well: Modelling 25x25 in the UK
  • Protecting children from alcohol marketing workshop
  • Early bird offer extended for physical activity congress
Read more
HCC News Roundup Archive - If you have missed any of our News Roundups you can view previous Roundups on our News Roundup Archive webpage here.
The HCC is a regional network of Caribbean health NGOs and civil society organizations with the remit to combat chronic diseases (NCDs) and their associated risk factors and conditions. Our membership presently consists of more than 50 Caribbean-based health NGOs and over 55 not-for-profit organisations and, in excess of 200 individual members based in the Caribbean and across the globe.

To join the HCC email us at
The work of HCC would not be possible without core funding from Sagicor Life Inc
Sagicor Life Inc.
Copyright © 2016 Healthy Caribbean Coalition, All rights reserved.

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