The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

March 11th - March 17th 2017


World Salt Awareness Week - March 20th-26th

World Salt Awareness Week
The Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) 18th National Salt Awareness Week is this week, Monday 20th - Sunday 26th March 2017, the theme for this year's Salt Awareness Week is 'Salt: The Forgotten Killer'.

The week will remind people that salt raises blood pressure, leading to strokes and heart attacks, and that by simply eating less can lower the chances of dying prematurely Also emphasising the need for further work if the 6g per day salt target is to be met. Many foods still have salt added to them, even foods that don't necessarily taste salty. Read more

CASH Warns of Thousands of Unnecessary Deaths From Salt – And Urges Public Health England to Take Immediate Action

In a press release to coincide with the launch of World Salt Awareness Week, CASH have released the results of a new survey. With less than nine months to go for food manufacturers and retailers to meet the 2017 Salt Reduction Targets, out of 28 food categories analysed, only ‘bread rolls’ has so far met the 2017 maximum, but not the average, salt target and CASH is alarmed by the lack of action so far by manufacturers and Public Health England. Read the full CASH press release here.

The survey, which was carried out using their smartphone app ‘Foodswitch’ (created in partnership with The George Institute), looked at the salt levels in shopping baskets of everyday items sold in UK supermarkets.
The survey looked at 28 food items, each representing a different category within the UK’s 2017 salt reduction targets, the survey found a huge variation in salt levels, with most categories still failing to meet the targets, more action is required from manufacturers and Public Health England if we are to reduce our salt intakes to below recommended levels. Read the full survey here.
The CASH FoodSwitch app can scan in the barcode of food and drink, see the colour coded label for that item, and see healthier choices. It is available here iTunes and Google Play

Sodium Adds Up

A Comparison of Sample Meal Plans in Barbados

With World Salt Awareness week upon us we carried out our own survey on salt content in sample meal plans in Barbados. Comparing high sodium content and offering low content alternatives.
Sodium Adds Up  - A Comparison of Sample Meal Plans in Barbados
Click here to see the full size version of our infographic.

Salt and Sodium: Defined
The words “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Salt (also known by its chemical name, sodium chloride) is a crystal-like compound that is abundant in nature and is used to flavor and preserve food. Sodium is a mineral, and one of the chemical elements found in salt. Table salt is approximately 40 percent sodium.

The Jamiaca Coalition For Tobacco Control (JCTC) Applauds the Government of Jamaica on it's Commitment to Increase Tobacco Taxes

Audley Shaw
The JCTC applauds the Government of Jamaica for keeping its commitment to increase tobacco taxes in a stepwise manner. On March 9th,  with support and lobbying from several sectors and organizations, the Government increased special consumption tax (SCT) on cigarettes by a further 21%. The Andrew Holness administration  announced increases in taxes on motor vehicle licences, fuel, tobacco and alcoholic beverages as well as a 16.5 per cent GCT on group health insurance among measures aimed at almost $30 billion in revenue.  
The Increase tax on tobacco products is from $14 per stick to $17 per stick  is expected to earn $826 million in revenue. This will be is welcome news as a portion of the revenue from these taxes are is earmarked for the National Health Fund which are and used to finance health education and promotion, health infrastructure improvements and to ensure affordable access to medicines for people suffering from chronic NCDs.

This increase in SCT of 21.3%,  is the third in 2 years, taking the SCT per stick from $10.50 to $17 (61%). and making The increased price will also make cigarettes more costly for youth and is expected to reduce consumption and increase the number of persons wanting to quit.  Jamaica is compliant with Article 6 of the FCTC
Related press coverage:

HCC Supermarket Nutrition Label Project in Barbados

Exploring consumer awareness and attitudes towards product nutrition labels
Other volunteers not pictured taking part in this project are Allyssa Callender, Sue-Marya Sookoo, Kendra Beckles and Shellisa Galloway

The Yes She Can International Women in Wellness Conference 2017

Yes She Can
Taking place on March 25th, 2017 at the Acropolis Medical Center - Circular Road, San Fernando Trinidad. 

HCC member of Board of Directors Dr. Karen Sealey is the Plenary Speaker at this event, delivering an address on Women and NCDs - a Reality Check.

The theme of the conference is "Building our Women, Strengthening our Society" and will feature respected professionals in their fields, including Gender Specialist and Author Akosua Dardaine-Edwards, Counselling Psychologist Oraine Ramoo and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Paola Henderson. Their thought-provoking and interactive presentations will provide a forum for discussions about challenges, opportunities, and solutions.

Visit the conference website here.

NCDs – Jamaica’s Silent Killer

Director of Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries Prevention in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Tamu Davidson-Sadler
As Jamaica tries to grapple with an out-of-control crime problem, much attention is not paid to another more silent but just as dangerous, killer - non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs - including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease - are collectively responsible for almost 70 per cent of all deaths worldwide. Almost three-quarters of all NCD deaths, and 82 per cent of the 16 million people who die prematurely or before reaching 70 years of age, occur in low and middle-income countries like Jamaica. Read more
World Happiness Report 2017
The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2017, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels. The report, the fifth one to come out since 2012, continues to gain global recognition as governments, organizations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to inform their policy-making decisions. In addition to the rankings, this year’s report includes an analysis of happiness in the workplace and a deeper look at China and Africa.

Of the 155 countries ranked surprisingly or not there are 5 Caribbean countries. Three-quarters of the differences among countries, and also among regions, are accounted for by differences in six key variables, each of which digs into a different aspect of life. These six factors are GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble), trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (as measured by recent donations). The top ten countries rank highly on all six of these factors.
  • 38th Trinidad and Tobago
  • 50th Belize
  • 76th Jamaica
  • 86th Dominican Republic
  • 145th Haiti
Read the full report here.

Visit the website here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association Lecture for World Kidney Day

Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association
The Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association has in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Renal Society hosted a lecture for World Kidney Day. Presented by Dr. Ian Thomas, Nephrologist at the Mount St. John's Medical Centre, the topic was Kidney Disease and Diabetes. Dr. Thomas spoke of high risk factors for kidney disease and the increased risk for kidney disease among persons with diabetes, prevention, early detection and  of treatment options available. 

There was very good turnout with members from both groups and persons from the hospital,  Ministry of Health and of course members of the Public, a few doctors and nurses. 

Island Grill Changing the Way We Eat

Island Grill
If we are really to make a difference in the region’s NCD epidemic we have change the way a lot of us eat. One example of a restaurant trying to turn the tide is ‘Island Grill’ in Kingston, Jamaica. They don’t call their products ‘fast food’ – they prefer the term ‘quick service food’- and say they have tried to stay close to traditional, identifiably Jamaican dishes but with a healthy twist. Read more and see video interviews on the OneCaribbeanHealth website here.

Extend Paid Maternity Leave in Barbados - Petition

Extend Paid Maternity Leave in Barbados!
The Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Foundation of Barbados, call for paid maternity leave for mothers to be increased from the current 3 months to a minimum of 6 months and for fathers to have paid paternal leave for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Three months maternity leave is not enough. Without the extension of paid parental leave it is no surprise that our breastfeeding rates remain low. In a study done by our organisation, the Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Foundation(BCNF), in collaboaration with the University of the West Indies in 2016, results show the exclusive breastfeeding rate at 6 months to be 12.5%. Read more and sign the petition here

Opportunity to become an NCDA Board Member

NCD Alliance
Following a comprehensive consultation process, the NCD Alliance in 2017 is transitioning from an informal alliance to a registered not-for-profit association (NPA) in Switzerland. NCDA has been in operation for eight years, and whilst the current informal model has worked well to date, the sustainability of NCDA as an organisation and delivery of the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 will benefit from transitioning to a legal entity. 

Whilst this transition will not change the operations and strategic priorities of NCDA, it has important governance implications. For example, NCDA will move to a membership model; its member organisations will meet in a General Assembly every two years; and a Board of 13 directors, elected by the General Assembly, will act as the executive body of NCDA. Read more

The Emerging Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases

The Emerging Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases
The gravest health threats facing low- and middle-income countries are not the plagues, parasites, and blights that dominate the news cycle and international relief efforts. They are the everyday diseases the international community understands and could address, but fails to take action against.

Once thought to be challenges for affluent countries alone, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have emerged as the leading cause of death and disability in developing countries. In 2013, these diseases killed eight million people before their sixtieth birthdays in these countries. The chronic nature of NCDs means patients are sick and suffer longer and require more medical care. The resulting economic costs are high and escalating. Unless urgent action is taken, this emerging crisis will worsen in low- and middle-income countries and become harder to address. Read more

Barbados National Registry - Cancer Snapshot

Barbados National Registry Cancer Snapshot
Access to personal identifiable data is essential to link data from different sources and to match episode information to a case. The BNR need to educate stakeholders (private physicians) as to why it is important for the BNR to collect named data for surveillance purposes. Read more

'Healthiest Hearts in the World' Found

Healthiest Hearts Found
The healthiest hearts in the world have been found in the Tsimane people in the forests of Bolivia, say researchers. Barely any Tsimane had signs of clogged up arteries - even well into old age - a study in the Lancet showed. "It's an incredible population" with radically different diets and ways of living, said the researchers. Read more

NCD Child Taskforce on Essential Medicines

NCD Child Taskforce on Essential Medicines
NCD Child is pleased to announce a Call for Membership to its newly formed Taskforce on Essential Medicines.  Individuals interested in advocating for access to quality essential medicines for children, adolescents, and young people living with NCDs are invited to apply. 

The taskforce was established to identify and inventory existing advocacy/policy resources and approaches promoting affordable access to essential medicines and equipment for children and adolescents.  It will then work to address any identified gaps through advocacy and policy educational resources.

To apply, please complete the membership application by March 25. Contact Kiran Patel, NCD Child Program Manager ( with any questions.

Endometriosis Awareness March

The Barbados Association of Endometriosis and P.C.O.S.

62nd CARPHA Annual Health Research Conference

Registration is now open
62nd CARPHA Annual Health Research Conference

AC3 Conference 2017

AC3 Conference 2017

CMPPA 4th Annual Medical Conference & Community Outreach Program

Caribbean Cardiac Society - 32nd Caribbean Cardiology Conference - Early-Bird Registration Open

Caribbean Cardiac Society
Make your plans early to attend the 2017 Caribbean Cardiology Conference which will be held July 19 22, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Accommodation booking and early-bird registration are now open! Read more

Funding and Training Opportunities

Implementation Science for the Prevention and Treatment of Mental and/or Substance Use Disorders in Low- and Middle-income Countries (U01) Research Project – Cooperative Agreements. Open date: March 7, 2017

Call for mental health research proposals. The deadline for applications will be 11 April 2017, 4.00pm BST (3.00pm UTC)
NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • How 54 young teeth horrified a dentist, and motivated leaders to treat sugar as the new tobacco
  • A call to adopt a gender-based approach to tackling NCDs
  • Tobacco & SDGs: Incompatible development partners
  • UNIAFT/NCDs: February 2017 meeting report available online
  • Task force on essential medicines for children
  • How can depression be prevented and treated? 
  • World Salt Awareness Week: Salt - The Forgotten Killer
Read more
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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.

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The work of HCC would not be possible without core funding from Sagicor Life Inc
Sagicor Life Inc.
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