The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

July 1st - July 7th 2016


Make PE Mandatory in High Schools

Make PE Compulsory
In a recent article in the Jamaica Gleaner whilst acknowledging that obesity among children is a real issue, the Minister of Education, Youth and Information for Jamaica, Ruel Reid dismissed calls for physical education (PE) to be made mandatory for all students.

According to Reid, mandatory physical education in school after the ninth grade is something he has no intention of implementing, since the focus is on preparing students at this level for Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams.

The introduction of mandatory physical activity from the pre-primary to the tertiary level was one of the recommendations made by director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre Dr Alafia Samuels last week when she joined other stakeholders to evaluate the Caribbean's efforts to reducing non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Read the full article here.

In response to this statement Debbie Chen, Executive Director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and past member of the Board of Directors of the HCC and Professor Rainford Wilks, present member of the Board of Directors of the HCC issued an immediate response calling for PE to mandatory in High Schools.
Debbie Chen and Professor Rainford Wilks
In a letter to the Editor of the Jamaica Gleaner they expressed their concerns about the Ministers statement.

'We note with great concern in The Sunday Gleaner of July 3 that the minister of education has dismissed the call for physical education to be mandatory for all students. Childhood obesity is on the rise in Jamaica, and lack of physical activity and unhealthy nutrition both play major roles in its development. During the five to seven years of high school, children develop habits, as well as physical and mental characteristics, which will mark them for the rest of their lives.Academic work in school is very important, and participation in physical activity (which does not have to be competitive sport)"

Read the complete response here.

The SPARC Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge Award Haiti with Innovating Health International 

The SPARC Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge
Innovating Health International (IHI)/Project Medishare for Haiti in cooperation with the Haitian Group de Support contre le Cancer (GSCC) and as many as 10 other local partners are half way through implementing a Breast Cancer education campaign in Haiti supported by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer.

The project aims to research barriers to women’s cancer care in Haiti and build a comprehensive set of education and communication tools for local and government partners. These tools are designed to improve patient navigation, increase breast cancer awareness and early detection as well as promote supportive communities where women seeking cancer care is encouraged and accepted. 
 women’s cancer care in Haiti
Six months into the project, Innovating Health International with the GSCC have completed a nationwide research project to research knowledge, beliefs and barriers to women’s cancer care by surveying over 400 men and women and conducting 35 different focus groups in 5 departments across the country. The research was designed and carried out by a Community Advisory Board of 5 local partners who jointly wrote and executed the study. The Advisory Board held a conference on the 13th of June to analyse the preliminary results and a report will be shared by the end of July.
The communication and education tool-kit will informed by the survey results be built over the next three months. IHI plans to develop an education manual for Community Health Workers (CHWs) to learn and communicate about breast cancer, a set of visual communication tools, a series of Television Spots featuring patient advocates and pre-recorded radio spots for distribution in community radio stations.

Read more about this project and see images from the campaign here.
Watch the video here.

Caribbean Leaders Placing NCDs High on the Agenda

The 37th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM met earlier this week, 4-6 July, in Georgetown, Guyana.  Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA and Special Advisor to the HCC, present at the meeting, reported that with the support of various Heads including Premier R Ewing of Turks & Caicos, PM Hon R. Skerrit of Dominica, PM Dr. Hon K. Rowley of Trinidad & Tobago NCDs and health were placed on the agenda. This is a major success for NCD advocates in the region and signifies increasing political will, at the highest levels, to address chronic diseases in the Caribbean.
In the Conference, PM Dr Timothy Harris briefed colleague Heads on progress with the POS NCD Declaration, and Heads agreed on intensified action on tobacco control, healthier food environments,  reducing marketing to children, physical activity and improved access to medicines, as well as closer collaboration between health (COHSOD), and trade and economic development (COTED).
In the debate, the economic dimensions of NCDs were stressed by Dr Hospedales, citing new data from an IDB study showing the impact of diabetes, hypertension and cancer in T&T was TT$8billion per year, or 4.3% of the GDP. He advocated for the CARICOM Ministerial  Council of Finance and Planning (COFAP), the CDB and other regional financial actors to study the situation and develop an investment case and identify promising financing options for intensified national and regional  prevention and control programs.
Read the CARICOM Communiqué here.

CDRC Physical Activity Evidence Brief Launched to a Packed and “Inspired’ Audience 

Ms. Christina Howitt and Ms. Miriam Alvarado, Lecturer and Research Assistant respectively at the Chronic Disease Research Centre University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, shared their new research on physical activity in Barbados at a public lecture and discussion entitled Physical Activity: Why We All Plan to Start “Tomorrow,”. The lecture, held on July 7, 2016, was moderated by Dr. Alafia Samuels and featured a diverse panel with representatives from the Barbados Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Town and Country Development Planning Office, the private sector, and HCC members, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB).
Ms. Howitt, also the local lead on the Barbados Health of the Nation Study (HoTN) launched her new evidence brief which highlighted startling findings on levels of physical activity in Barbados.

Ms. Howitt discussed options to improve levels of physical activity among the Barbadian public including through the enhancement of physical spaces.

You can read the complete brief here.

Some of the key findings from the brief are below.
How Active Are Men and Women?
How Active Are We?
The second part of the lecture featured Miriam Alvarado, Fulbright Scholar, currently pursuing her PhD studies at Cambridge University. Miriam shared her qualitative research which sought to explore why Barbadian women are not getting sufficient physical activity.
Miriam Alvarado
Miriam’s work followed 17 diverse women and examined the motivating factors behind women’s decisions to engage in physical activity. Miriam also shared some of the successes of her Get Women Moving Campaign - a community based initiative supported in part by the HCC, which has seen over 500 women benefit from community exercise in just months.
The panel discussion followed with strong audience interaction. CEO of the HSFB, Gina Pitts, shared the work of the organisation including their highly successful Teenage Kicks programme which engages overweight and obese children and teenagers in physical activity. Read more

Ageing, NCDS and Technology: SVG Prime Minister tells Community to pay attention

Ageing, its relationship with chronic non-communicable diseases and technology, was among the issues  St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, called attention to yesterday, 4 July ,at the  opening of the 37th  Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government.
PM Ralph Gonsalves delivers a speech
The Prime Minister who entreated the Community to look at the issue of ageing said that  the Caribbean population was getting older and serious thought should be given to the matter. Citing statistics for his own country, which he said were similar elsewhere  in CARICOM, Prime Minister Gonsalves  drew attention to “a 30 per cent increase in the over 60 population” in the censual  period 2001 and 2002. Read more

HCC Policy Advisor at UK We Need to do Much More on Childhood Obesity

We Need to do Much More on Childhood Obesity
Nicole Foster HCC Policy Advisor
Nicole Foster, HCC Policy Advisor and attorney at law as well as lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, is at a two-day (July 7-8) conference: Ending Childhood Obesity: A Challenge at the Crossroads of International Trade and Human Rights Law. The conference is being hosted by the University of Liverpool’s newly launched NCDs and the Law Unit.
Nicole commented: ‘Professor Amadine Garde is to be commended for organising an interesting and timely conference. A common theme in many of the presentations (as well as comments from participants) is the lack of communication between key stakeholders, in particular the health and trade communities and the health and human rights communities and the urgent need for this to change so that they can better understand each other, as well as be able to build on commonalities - the latter with specific reference to utilising human rights discourse as part of the fight against NCDs. Another important message from the presentations thus far is the need for greater policy coherence by governments i.e.for effective and inclusive consultative processes at the domestic/local level (so that the policies they pursue multilaterally support rather than undermine each other). These issues all reinforce the importance of a ‘whole government’ ‘whole society’ approach to tackling the NCDs epidemic within the region.'

Chile Declares War on Junk Food

Chile declares war on junk food
Watch the video here.

How Can Latin America Change the Course of its 'NCD Tsunami'?

How Can Latin America Change the Course of its 'NCD Tsunami'?
In the Region of the Americas, the number of people who are living with an NCD (noncommunicable disease) is estimated to be over 200 million. NCDs are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality and are associated with 79% of all deaths. Thirty five percent of deaths due to NCDs are premature deaths, meaning they occur between 30 and 70 years of age. The World Economic Forum projected that the NCD epidemic will inflict $21.3 trillion in economic losses in low- and middle-income countries over the next two decades. Read more

‘Greater Health Risk’ at Crop Over

Sudden deaths can heighten the need for Barbadians to watch their health during Crop Over.
Gina Pitts CEO of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
So says chief executive officer of the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Gina Pitts, who has expressed concern over the health of the Barbadian population as the country continues to battle with non-communicable diseases.

At least eight sudden deaths were reported in June alone, all of which occurred in quick succession. Although the cause of deaths has not yet been revealed, the seemingly unusual phenomenon has garnered the attention of health officials.
Pitts said that based on statistics from the Barbados National Registry (BNR), events like Crop Over, Christmas and Valentine’s were often linked to a hike in cardiovascular health problems. Read more

Related Article:  Sudden deaths a ‘wake-up call’ - That is the view of cardiologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Dr Dawn Scantlebury, who said the Barbadian population could be at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases due to poor lifestyle choices.

We Need to do Much More on Childhood Obesity

We Need to do Much More on Childhood Obesity
We need to do much more on childhood obesity to tackle NCDs, says top expert.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem across the Caribbean and needs to be addressed if the epidemic of non-communicable diseases is to be brought under control, argued Dr Alafia Samuels, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) in a recent lecture to mark the 50th Anniversary of Independence in Barbados.

During the lecture, entitled Accelerating the NCD Agenda, Dr Samuels noted the alarming statistic that in every CARICOM state more than one in ten children is obese, with numbers rising. Less than a third of school children achieve the recommended levels of physical activity, exacerbating the issue. Read more

Cancer Support Services (CSS) Fifth Annual Conference 'Surviving Cancer' 

Cancer Support Services Fifth Annual Conference
Once again, Cancer Support Services (CSS) has hosted another successful conference. This, our fifth annual conference was convened on Saturday, July 02, 2016 at the Accra Beach Hotel, Christ Church.

Based on the theme: “Surviving Cancer,” the conference got off to a strong start with a solo, “Here I Am”, rendered by Miss Samantha Leacock.  The participants were later addressed by CSS President, Ms. Kathy-Ann Kelly-Springer, and Chief Public Health Nurse, Mrs. Anne Murrell who deputised for Health Minister, Mr. John Boyce. The pre-break session included Patient Advocate, Shorma James’ blunt account of her interaction with medical and paramedical staff as she continues her journey since her diagnosis; and  Anthony “CJ” Marshall’s riveting story as he reflected on his personal walk as he shares in his wife’s journey. These personal reflections resonated with the audience, and set the tone for the remainder of the conference.

Read more and see video clips and images from the conference here.
Barbados Association of Palliative Care Presents a Public Lecture 

Barbados Association of Palliative Care Presents a Public Lecture 

“Ending Life Pain Free - an Ultimate Palliative Care Objective”

Sunday, 10th July, 2016 - 5 p.m. at the Church of Praise  Christ Church. for more Information call 234-9196/ 418-6915/ 233-1216
Panelists are:
  • Dr. Natalie Greaves – Family Medicine and Palliative Care Physician
  • Dr Sharon Harvey- Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Lecturer in Psychiatry
  • Pastor Everette Howell – Spiritual Leader and Family Counsellor
  • Mrs. Esther Selman- Certified Nutritionist
Admission is free.

New American College of Physicians Caribbean Chapter Established

American College of Physicians Caribbean Chapter
Effective July 1, 2016 the Caribbean now has a Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP).  Kenneth Connell, MBBS, DM, PhD, FACP is the Interim Governor based of the Chapter. Dr. Connell is the Deputy Dean – Preclinical and Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies, in Barbados. He will provide leadership for the new chapter and will serve as the point of contact between College staff and ACP members in the Caribbean. 
The Caribbean Chapter is the 19th International Chapter for ACP. The chapter includes the countries and territories that comprise the Caribbean Community or “CARICOM,” except Belize, which is currently part of the Central American Chapter, and also the US Virgin Islands.  Visit the chapter website for more details. As the chapter develops, you will have the opportunity to network with other internists in the region and participate in continuing medical education activities. To learn more about ACP's benefits and resources, please visit ACP Online.

Addressing NCDs in Adolescents: Telling Our Stories

Addressing NCDs in Adolescents: Telling Our Stories
Youth are affected by NCDs and will be critical to the fulfillment of the newly developed Sustainable Development Goals. You are invited to join us for an important discussion on how to engage and mobilize youth in this effort and elevate their voices on the WHO's global communciations campaign on non-communicable diseases. Jointly hosted by NCD child, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Task Force on Women and NCD's, UNICEF, and the American Heart Association, this event will serve as a backdrop around the work of the WHO GCM/NCD and highlight the contributions from stakeholders like you for the prevention and control of NCD's impacting women and young people. Read more
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Latest
Drink more water...
As more and more persons gear up during the crop over season, we encourage persons to consume more water.

Summer Camp's Food
Is the summer camp offering a healthy option? Summer Camp is an ideal opportunity to teach our children how to eat healthy in a comfortable environment.

Read more from the Heart & Stroke Foundation newsletter here.
NGO Mental Health Recommendation
Be HCC Social
Please Follow Us and Our Members on Social Media
If you want to share your organisations social media details in our roundup please let us know
NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
  • Join our call to include health in the new Urban Agenda 
  • Health Tracker reveals weak progress towards NCD targets
  • NCDFREE Bootcamp
  • Short course on prevention strategies for NCDs
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.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp