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The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

January 13th - January 19th 2018


Reflections on Sharjah - What the World is Doing

Reflections on Sharjah - What the World is Doing
Tara Lisa Persaud, HCC’s ‘Our Views Our Voices Technical Advisor’ attended the Global NCD Alliance Forum which took place in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates in December 2017, here she gives her Reflections on Sharjah.
In September, 2017, when I told anyone that in December 2017 I was going to attend the Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, they all, bar none, looked at me like I had lost my mind. 

Well, in fact, I had - sort of! On July 6th, 2017 I had major brain surgery to remove a tumour the size of a golf ball that had grown there as a result of the Stage IV breast cancer that I had been diagnosed with at the end of 2014. On August 21st, 2017 I had more surgery in my brain to get rid of any last bits of the cancer cells. I spent all of July and August throwing up and not being able to walk more than a short way to the bathroom.  Even to have a shower in that first month required that I sit on a stool because if I stood up - well I would fall down (which I have done a few times well!). So everyone thought that, just maybe, the surgeons had removed some of the logical part of my brain with the tumour.

“Do you know how much time you have to be in a plane? It’s more than 16 hours!”; “You can’t walk in a straight line or balance well and your hand still shakes like crazy, are you mad?”; “Motion makes you vomit and you get easily confused”; “You still have double vision and you can’t see to write much less anything else.”

Well, if I am honest, I was not sure either.  Yet, I was determined to try. And in December, I succeeded and attended the conference with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition team.  (How I managed it another story for another day).  I am so glad that I did. I learned so much – more than I could write here.  But I would like to share a few of the things that I took away with me from my time in Sharjah.
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Cancer Prevention and Control in the Caribbean

Cancer Prevention and Control in the Caribbean
The 2017 Issue of Cancer Control contains an article on Cancer Prevention and Control in the Caribbean. With World Cancer Day 2018 just around the corner on February 4th, we wanted to share this informative piece authored by: Silvana Luciani,  Department of Noncommunicable Diseases And Mental Health, PAHO, Anselm Hennis, Department of Noncommunicable Diseases And Mental Health, PAHO,  Maisha Hutton Executive Director, Healthy Caribbean Coalition and Sir Trevor Hassell, President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition.
Objective: To describe the status, progress and challenges to implementing cancer interventions in the Caribbean.
Methods: Data on cancer mortality, policies and services were extracted from Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) databases, government and nongovernmental websites and the peer-reviewed literature.
Results: Cancer is the second leading cause of death; plans are in place in most countries, screening services exist in several countries, but significant gaps remain in treatment and palliative care.
Conclusion: Multisector collaboration, technical assistance and funding is needed to improve care.
Read/Download here

UTech, Jamaica Scientific Symposium Presents Compelling Evidence for Introduction of Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

UTech, Jamaica Scientific Symposium
Local, regional and international presenters  from academia,  NGOs, development agencies and the public sector  provided evidenced-based data in strong support of the introduction of a tax on sugar- sweetened beverages (SSB) in Jamaica, during a scientific symposium titled “Fiscal Measures to Prevent Obesity/NCDs in Jamaica:  Focus on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages”  hosted by the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Jamaica) on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston. The Symposium was also attended online by up to 100 people thanks to an ongoing partnership between The UWI Open Campus and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition.
UTech, Jamaica Scientific Symposium
Symposium convener Prof. Fitzroy Henry, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, College of Health Sciences, UTech, Jamaica and Chairman of the National Food Task Force explained that the objectives of the symposium were to present the rationale for a fiscal approach to healthy eating in Jamaica and to identify the challenges and opportunities for introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

The focus of the symposium on SSBs stemmed from the evidence showing that sugar-sweetened beverages make up the largest contribution of sugar intake in Jamaica and in most countries. Sugary drinks have no nutritional value and are particularly harmful to the body because the liquid form is absorbed more quickly by the liver than it might be able to process and release it.  The excess sugar becomes stored as fat or glycogen deposits in the liver. This can lead to fatty liver disease and increased risks for diabetes and other NCDs.
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Watch a selection of the speakers and presentations here.
Utech Scientific Symposium Video
Related Media Coverage:

New UK Health Forum Casebook Includes Commentary - A Perspective from the Caribbean

The latest casebook from the UKHF
The latest casebook from the UKHF - 'Public health and the food and drinks industry: The governance and ethics of interaction. Lessons from research, policy and practice' features a Commentary - Perspective from the Caribbean submitted by HCC Technical Advisor Professor Alafia Samuels, HCC Executive Director, Maisha Hutton and President Sir Trevor Hassell.
Commentary - Perspective from the Caribbean
Many Caribbean countries are exploring fiscal policies to reduce obesity, in particular reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

Eleven of the 15 countries with the highest obesity rates in the world are small-island developing states of the Pacific and the Caribbean, which lack food sovereignty and are highly dependent on imported foods. The case studies raise the important issue of defining and limiting the role of industry in the interest of safeguarding nutrition-related policy and legislation.
Read/Download here
Related: Lessons from interactions between public health and the food and drinks industry

Hypertension in Children on the Rise - More Than 30,000 Kids Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure Because of Severe Overweight

Professor Alafia Samuels, director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre
Experts are expressing alarm after discovering that in 2017, close to 33,000 children ages 10-19 years, were diagnosed with elevated blood pressure due to obesity.

Professor Alafia Samuels, director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill, Barbados and HCC Technical Advisor, noted that statistics showed the urgent need for action to be taken, especially at the policy level, to help persons to make healthier choices.
"We know that hypertension is not the usual trend in children. It is expected that it could emerge as you get older, but the reality is that 20 per cent of obese children have high blood pressure.

"When we calculated the figures for Jamaica, what we found was that in 2017, almost 18,000 girls and more than 15,000 boys, 10-19 years old, had elevated blood pressure because of obesity,"
she said at the Global Health Advocacy Campaign Obesity Prevention Programme, which was held yesterday at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
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Call for nominations: the Global Nutrition Report Independent Expert Group

The Stakeholder Group of the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) is calling for nominations to the Independent Expert Group (IEG) by 25th January 2018.

The IEG is responsible for drafting the report, led by the co-chairs. It ensures the quality of the data, develops the narrative around the data, and is held accountable for the quality and independence of the GNR and the process that produces it. The length of appointment on the IEG is three years, with possibility of extension.

The current IEG membership can be found here. Corinna Hawkes, Jessica Fanzo and Emorn Udomkesmalee serve as Co-Chairs and continued IEG members for the GNR. The GNR and Stakeholder Group are looking to “refresh” the IEG to get new areas of expertise and fresh perspectives on the content of the GNR moving forward into 2018 and beyond.
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Incorporate Physical Activity Into Teaching, Urges Jamaica Minister of Education

Incorporate Physical Activity Into Teaching, Urges Minister
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid has called on teachers to incorporate physical activity and play into teaching at all levels of the primary and secondary school systems in order to enhance students' learning.

Speaking at the Central Connecticut State University Joint Alumni Professional Development Conference 2018 at the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College in St James on Thursday, Reid said that engendering and promoting physical activity in the delivery of lessons "inside the classroom and outside", should be given prime consideration.
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Related Media:

NCDs’ Impact on Adolescents Overlooked to Date

Adolescents have largely been overlooked in global discussions on NCDs to date but there is evidence that specific interventions are effective, says a new report by the NCD Alliance and partners.

Titled Noncommunicable disease prevention and adolescents, the report notes some of these interventions:
Noncommunicable disease prevention and adolescents
  • Improving nutrition, including through maternal micronutrient supplementation, breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding;
  • Vaccination for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) among adolescent girls (aged 9-13 years) to prevent cervical cancer, particularly in contexts where screening is limited
  • Universal Hepatitis B vaccination to prevent cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Nearly 35% of the global burden of disease has its origins in adolescence, adds the report, and more than 3,000 adolescents die every day, mostly from NCDs, intentional and unintentional injuries and other preventable causes. Yet preventing NCDs among adolescents may yield a triple dividend of benefits: for adolescents today, for their future adult lives, and for the next generation.

The report points out that this year’s UN Third High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs presents a critical opportunity for national governments to commit to investment in adolescents.
Read/Download here

Join World Cancer Day 2018 - Add your Voice!

World Cancer Day 2018 Thunderclap
Join World Cancer Day 2018 to show that together ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Add you voice to the Thunderclap campaign and help spread the message around the world.
Add your voice

Bloomberg & Summers Announce Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health

Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health
Michael R. Bloomberg and Lawrence H. Summers Create Task Force to Address Preventable Leading Causes of Death and Noncommunicable Diseases Through Fiscal Policy.

President of Uruguay, First Minister of Scotland, and Leaders in Economics, Health and Development Join to Advocate for Lifesaving Policies that Address Noncommunicable Diseases Linked to Tobacco Use, Obesity and Alcohol Consumption.

World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases, entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael R. Bloomberg and distinguished economist Lawrence H. Summers, former Secretary of the US Treasury and former Director of the National Economic Council of the United States, today announced a Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health.
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Related Media:

WHO Report - Incentives and Disincentives for Reducing Sugar in Manufactured Foods: An Exploratory Supply Chain Analysis

The amount of free sugars consumed in Europe exceeds levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). A significant proportion of free sugars in the diet comes from manufactured foods, such as baked goods, breakfast cereals and sugary drinks.
WHO Report - Incentives and Disincentives for Reducing Sugar in Manufactured Foods
Excess sugar intake increases the risk of weight gain and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and is one of the major challenges in Europe in relation to the promotion of healthy diets. Yet the high free sugars content of certain manufactured products and the significant variation in composition, within product categories and between countries, indicate that there is significant scope to reduce the amount of sugar added to manufactured foods.

Several countries have initiated national actions to reduce sugar intake, including reformulation, targeted taxation and interpretative front-of-pack labelling.
These actions align with the policy tools recommended in the WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020 to create healthier food environments. Nevertheless, more fundamental action is needed.
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The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
6th Annual Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate Symposium

The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus 6th Annual Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate Symposium
The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus 6th Annual Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate Symposium takes place Friday, January 26, 2018 in the Solutions Centre, 'Shell Suite' at the Cave Hill Campus, starting at 9:00 am.

Presentations will be given by PhD, DrPh. & DM Candidates.

To register, please contact: Mrs. Pamela Alleyne at 417-4703 or via email

RSVP by 23rd January 2018
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How Digital Media Markets Unhealthy Foods to Children

How digital media markets unhealthy foods to children
Children’s food preferences, what foods they ask for, and how much they eat, are all affected by advertising and promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks – highly processed items that have little or no nutritional value. This is shown by research evidencethat the World Health Organization has declared “unequivocal”.

This advertising and promotion is a concern given the very high worldwide rates of children who are overweight or obese. In the UK, for example, nearly a third of children between the age of two and 15 years are overweight or obese. Obesity has been linked to 11 types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes used to only affect adults, but are now increasingly seen in children and young people.
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Cancer Blood Test ‘Enormously Exciting’

Cancer Blood Test ‘Enormously Exciting’
Scientists have taken a step towards one of the biggest goals in medicine - a universal blood test for cancer. A team at Johns Hopkins University has trialled a method that detects eight common forms of the disease.

Their vision is an annual test designed to catch cancer early and save lives. UK experts said it was "enormously exciting". However, one said more work was needed to assess the test's effectiveness at detecting early-stage cancers. Tumours release tiny traces of their mutated DNA and proteins they make into the bloodstream.
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Most Australians Want Sugar Tax on Drinks

Most Australians Want Sugar Tax on Drinks
A majority of Australians support a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, a new poll has found. The Guardian Essential poll, released on Tuesday, found 53% of the 1,038 respondents were in favour of a sugar tax on drinks, compared with 38% opposed and 10% with no opinion. A majority of all major-party voters backed the sugar tax, with Greens (60%) and Coalition voters (57%) most in favour.

In January the Australian Medical Association joined a renewed push for a sugar tax but the Turnbull government immediately ruled out the idea on the basis consumers should take “individual responsibility” for food choices.
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Key Messages From Our Publications
Preventing Childhood Obesity
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Job Opportunity: Advocacy Coordinator, Jamaica and Barbados, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (Based in Kingston, Jamaica).

The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI)
The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), a program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), provides strategic advocacy assistance on global public health issues in the area of obesity prevention, among others.

The Jamaica/Barbados Coordinator will have direct oversight of the project on-the ground in Jamaica and Barbados and will support in-country partners to carry out a coordinated advocacy campaign that ultimately leads to policy change. The Coordinator will report directly to the Director Obesity Prevention Programs at the GHAI in Washington, D.C. and will work closely with the GHAI obesity prevention team and partners on the ground.

This is a full-time coordinator position, will be based in Kingston, Jamaica and is a 12 month assignment with possible renewal. To apply for this position, please email a cover letter, including salary history and attach your resume to: and  The target date to hire is Feb. 1, 2018; however CVs will be accepted until the position is filled. 
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6th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research

Addressing Disparities, Locally and Globally
Satellite Event of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health Annual Conference. Thursday, March 15, 2018, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, New York Hilton – Midtown, 1335 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Call for Rapid Fire Presentation Submissions
Deadline: January 31, 2018, 11:59 pm
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HCC Publications

HCC/NCD Alliance Policy Brief: A Closer Look: The Implementation of Taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages by the Government of Barbados
HCC/NCD Alliance Policy Brief: A Closer Look: The Implementation of Taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages by the Government of Barbados
Civil Society action Plan 2017-2021: Preventing Childhood Obesity in the Caribbean
Civil Society action Plan 2017-2021: Preventing Childhood Obesity in the Caribbean 
See All HCC Publications
World Cancer Day
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World Salt Awareness Week
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The 5th Biennial 2018 Science of Global Prostate Cancer

November 7 - 10th, 2018 at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
Call for Abstracts
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Caribbean Cardiology Conference 2018

Caribbean Cardiology Conference 2018
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World Cancer Conference 2018

World Cancer Conference 2018
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The NCD Alliance
  • NCDs' impact on adolescents overlooked to date - report
  • Did you miss our webinar? Slides & recording are online
  • World Cancer Day - Join the Thunderclap!
  • The value of youth in the fight against NCDs
  • Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs
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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 65 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.
The HCC promote the work of civil society throughout the Caribbean in a variety of ways including sharing of their materials, this is not an endorsement of their materials or messages. The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only, we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct but any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. Through this newsletter you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of the HCC. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
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