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Healthy Caribbean Coalition

October 18th, 2019


PAHO Director Makes Unambiguous Call for Front-of-Package Nutrition Warning Labels and Healthy Nutrition Policies in the Caribbean

Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of PAHO
Powerful Keynote address from Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of PAHO at the 1st Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health, October 14th, Port of Spain, Trinidad
(Photo: CCAYH2019)
On October 14th in Port of Spain Trinidad at the Opening Ceremony of the 1st Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health, Director of PAHO, Dr. Carissa Etienne delivered a powerful Keynote address demonstrating PAHO’s full commitment and support for young people’s health and well being.  Dr. Etienne’s speech had a number of high notes including her reference to the dire situation of childhood obesity in Caribbean and the need for urgent policy action. An excerpt of her remarks are below. 
Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of PAHO
"Childhood overweight and obesity rates have exploded in the Region, such that the Caribbean now has the highest rates in the Americas."

"In the Caribbean there are no restrictions on marketing unhealthy products to our children and adolescents; nor are there specific taxes to reduce consumption of such products; nor are there comprehensive regulations to ensure healthy school environments. Regrettably, businesses are allowed to do whatever they want to persuade our children to consume processed and ultra-processed products that harm health and wellbeing. I agree with you that this must change - we can no longer stand idly by and allow commerce, trade and profits to take precedence over the health of our young people."

"Our leaders must come together and fully support applying front-of-package nutrition warning labels to harmful food products."

"The front of package warning labels guide healthier choices. Implementation of these measures will help to save the next generation - this is an urgent public health situation and we simply cannot wait."
Full remarks can be found here.
The HCC just released a Call to Urgent Action asking the region’s political leadership to prioritise three policies for childhood obesity prevention - one of which was mandatory ‘high in’ front of package nutrition warning labels. As Dr. Etienne, has indicated, the introduction of front of package nutrition warning labels would be a game changer in the Caribbean, creating a pathway for the implementation of other nutrition policies which are essential to create environments in which people are empowered and enabled to make healthy choices. CROSQ is currently engaged in a regional consultation on this very issue and so there is a critical opportunity to move this policy forward.  The time to act is now - 'we simply cannot wait’.
HCC Civil Society Call to Urgent Action
HCC Civil Society Call to Urgent Action
The Board of Directors of the HCC and the membership across the region would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and commend Dr. Etienne for her vision and fearless leadership. We thank you for hearing our Call to Urgent Action and the call of Caribbean children whose futures are at stake. Their hopes and dreams must come before the profits of food and beverage sector. We hope this moment will be catalytic and transformational and policymakers across the region will join PAHO and the HCC in support of the introduction of  ‘high in’ front of package nutrition warning labels. Policymakers throughout the Caribbean now need to put healthy nutrition polices ahead of private sector business interests. 

1st Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health

1st Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health
Dr. Mychelle Farmer, Chair, NCD Child
(L to R) Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester (Interim President of Caribbean Association for Adolescent Health, IAAH), Dr. Abigail Harrison-Kong (Vice President IAAH), Dr. Susan Sawyer (President, IAAH), Dr. Carissa Etienne (Director, PAHO), and Dr. Mychelle Farmer, Chair, NCD Child
The First ever Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health took place last week, October 15-17, 2019 in Port of Spain. The congress was a call to action for advocates, health and social workers, policy-makers, academia, clinicians and young people towards improving adolescent health and well-being for the future development of the region.

Many more photos from the Congress can be found here.

Also more information can be found: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
NCD Child and HCC Mini-Workshop at the Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health
HCC Tobacco Control Advisor, Pierre Kevin Cooke (Jnr.), HCC Youth Voices Technical Advisor 
(L to R) Dr. Mychelle Farmer, Chair, NCD Child, Mrs. Barbara McGaw, HCC Tobacco Control Advisor, Pierre Kevin Cooke (Jnr.), HCC Youth Voices Technical Advisor and Danielle Walwyn
NCD Child and HCC partnered to host a mini-workshop on Youth and NCDs on Day 1 at the Caribbean Congress on Adolescent and Youth Health: Early Intervention for the Reduction of NCDs in the Caribbean. Speakers included: Dr. Mychelle Farmer, Chair of the Governing Council of NCD Child who spoke about HPV vaccination; Pierre Cooke Jnr, HCC Youth Technical Advisor, who shared his perspectives on youth leadership; Barbara McGaw, HCC Tobacco Control Advisor and Programme Manager at Heart Foundation of Jamaica, who provided compelling information about challenging policy environments specifically related to tobacco elimination among young people; and Dr. Nicole Joseph who spoke eloquently about breast health, stigma, and body image as a factor for positive mental health and wellbeing.  The session was well attended with 25 participants who collectively arrived at 10 SMART objectives for youth NCD priorities in the region. The meeting was an opportunity to grow the youth and NCDs community in the region and participants have committed to stay connected. 
Reflections from Youth Attendee - Danielle Walwyn
Danielle Walwyn
Danielle Walwyn (right) with Youth Ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda, Lyle Jackson
Danielle Walwyn from Antigua and Barbuda, who worked as an intern for HCC in 2016/17 attended the Congress and has kindly written the following reflective piece.

I would describe the first Congress on Youth and Adolescent Health as a youth-powered empowering event. It was a 3-day event focused on facilitating knowledge-sharing and discussions on the promotion and protection of the health and well-being of all adolescents and young people in the Caribbean.

Throughout the Congress, both the ‘young’ (youth delegates) and the ‘young at heart’ (adults who support adolescents in various disciplines) discussed policies, programs, initiatives and research focused on adolescent and youth health. Upon reflection, there are a number of moments that were particularly noteworthy, a few of which I thought were critical to highlight as we continue to support the development of this population
Firstly, there was an emphasis on the need to create opportunities for youth to provide input on how their health can be improved, and ultimately encourage our region’s leaders to collaborate with youth in making youth-related health decisions. Embracing this youth-participatory approach was highlighted as a necessity, particularly when managing our region’s epidemics such as childhood obesity which often involves enacting policies that affect youth spaces like the school environment.
Secondly, attendees were encouraged to be mindful of the diversity of adolescent groups (especially vulnerable groups such as those young people who are: Indigenous, differently-abled, suffering from mental, physical or intellectual conditions, young women, members of the LGBTQI population, those involved in the criminal justice system, migrants, displaced, and others suffering from other social or economic disadvantages) and recognizing the need to utilize an equitable approach rather than an equal approach in addressing their needs.
Lastly, as a young Caribbean researcher, I appreciated the opportunity to share my research and witness the commendable research being conducted in our region. However, it was evident that more resources need to be allocated to conducting research, especially to support and inform adolescent and youth health policies and related programs.
Danielle Walwyn
Danielle Walwyn (left) with Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director, PAHO
I applaud the Congress for their efforts in facilitating a gathering of young Caribbean minds to discuss critical issues. The Congress afforded participants an opportunity to have an open dialogue about topics that need to be on the agenda to support the holistic development of this unique population. At the end of the congress, participants helped pen a ‘roadmap’ to improve adolescent and youth health in the Caribbean. I look forward to seeing how this roadmap will be used to guide future discussions and ultimately inform policies focused on the holistic development of our Caribbean youth. With the continued efforts from youth and efforts made to have youth at the table, I anticipate that great changes can occur. I look forward to seeing how the delegates pursue their initiatives in their own territories, collaborate on making region-wide progress in committing to the initiatives outlined in the roadmap and ultimately continuing to advance youth and adolescent health in the region using powerful youthful voices.
Danielle Walwyn is a recent Queen’s University (Canada) Master of Science graduate with a specialization in health promotion. Her research interests are in exploring the barriers and facilitators to achieving optimal health in youth and other special populations. In particular, her thesis work focused on exploring the physical activity context in secondary schools in Antigua.


HCC Youth Technical Advisor Pierre Cooke Jr., Heads to One Young World Summit 2019 in the UK 

One Young World Summit 2019
Pierre Cooke Jr., HCC Youth Technical Advisor and NCD Child Youth Advocate kicked off his One Young World Summit 2019 journey in the UK this week at a early am breakfast with partners at C3 Collaborating for Health  where he shared experiences of NCDs and young people in the Caribbean. Pierre is attending the One Young World Summit as a Youth Health Program Scholar funded through Astra Zeneca and as a Delegate to One Young World.

Join Pierre on his journey by following him on social media on Instagram @pierrekcookejnr and on Twitter @pierrekcookejnr
Pierre Cooke Jr.
Pierre Cooke Jr.
Pierre Cooke Jr.

Multisectoral Workshop for WHO FCTC Parties in the Caribbean Region to Promote the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

8-10 October 2019, Montego Bay Jamaica
Multisectoral Workshop for WHO FCTC
Barbara McGaw, Tobacco Control Advisor
Barbara McGaw, Tobacco Control Advisor for the JCTC/HCC (pictured right) attended the meeting at caption and presented in Session 5 below.

10:00-12:30 Session 5: The tobacco industry interference and illicit trade, Moderator: Convention Secretariat / Patrick Musavuli. Three 20-minute presentations followed by 15 minute break and 75 minutes open discussion
  • How the tobacco industry uses illicit trade and the Protocol as counterarguments against tobacco control (Framework Convention Alliance/Mischa Terzyk)
  • Measurement of illicit trade (American Cancer Society and PAHO/Michal Stoklosa)
  • The tobacco industry interference in Jamaica and in the Region (Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control/Barbara McGaw)
More than 60 delegates representing 13 countries met in Montego Bay, Jamaica for the multisectoral workshop for WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Parties in the Caribbean Region to promote the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products . They included persons from Health, Justice, Finance and Customs Depts, Foreign Affairs, National Security ,the Constabulary Force and Counter terrorism departments. CARICOM and PAHO was also represented. Civil society was represented by the Framework Convention Alliance the Health Caribbean Coalition , the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, and the American Cancer Society. The meeting discussed important steps toward implementation of the Protocol.

Expected outcomes of the meeting
  • Accelerating the ratification or accession of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco
  • Products in the Caribbean region;
  • Promotion of law enforcement cooperation in the field of illicit tobacco trade in the Caribbean
  • region;
  • Engage with relevant players in implementation measures of the Protocol
Related Media:

UNICEF: The State of the World’s Children 2019

Children, food and nutrition: Growing well in a changing world
UNICEF: The State of the World’s Children 2019
Photo: UNICEF/UN0321726/Mejía
For the first time in 20 years, UNICEF’s flagship report examines the issue of children, food and nutrition, providing a fresh perspective on a rapidly evolving challenge.
UNICEF: The State of the World’s Children 2019
Despite progress in the past two decades, one third of children under age 5 are malnourished - stunted, wasted or overweight - while two thirds are at risk of malnutrition and hidden hunger because of the poor quality of their diets. At the center of this challenge is a broken food system that fails to provide children with the diets they need to grow healthy. This report also provides new data and analyses of malnutrition in the 21st century and outlines recommendations to put children’s rights at the heart of food systems.
Download the Report
Related Media:

Special Envoy For Women And Children And The Belize Cancer Society Unveil 2019 Cancer Awareness Flyer

Special Envoy For Women And Children And The Belize Cancer Society Unveil 2019 Cancer Awareness Flyer
On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children in partnership with the Belize Cancer Society unveiled its 2019 Cancer Awareness Flyer as part of Belize’s activities for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Each year, the Office of the Special Envoy partners with the Belize Cancer Society to identify cancer survivors and current fighters who are willing to give of their time to empower others and encourage yearly screenings/self-examinations by participating in a Cancer Awareness Photoshoot.

This year’s photoshoot included six participants from Belize City, San Pedro and Dangriga; Namely, Ms. Chelsea Munoz, Ms. Zoila Audinett, Ms. Marla Zavala, Ms. Shermadine Rowland, Ms. Nicole Haylock, and Ms. Rachel Castillo.
Read More

Support Breast Cancer Awareness With These Regional Events

Support Breast Cancer Awareness
Loop News: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and around the region, there will be many activities to create awareness about the disease.

According to a 2018 report from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, breast cancer is the main cause of cancer deaths among Caribbean females, accounting for 14 percent to 30 percent of cancer deaths.
See Events

Study Explores Why Caribbean Adults Have Higher Hypertension Rates

Study Explores Why Caribbean Adults Have Higher Hypertension Rates
An Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network Study team in Trinidad and Tobago
(Photo courtesy of Equity Research and Innovation Center, Yale University School of Medicine)
Adult populations in the Caribbean, mirroring black populations in the U.S., experience higher rates of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease, and researchers want to know why.

 Among them is Yale School of Medicine researcher and physician Dr. Erica Spatz , whose recent paper in the journal Ethnicity & Disease details a study that aims to determine which factors are contributing to high numbers of poor cardiovascular outcomes in the Caribbean. The research is part of the larger Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN) Study, launched in 2011, which is led by Yale School of Medicine professor Dr. Marcella Nunez Smith. Investigators hope the study will eventually involve 500 participants from four island nations: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.
Read More

24-Hour Helpline For Children With Mental Health Issues

24-Hour Helpline For Children With Mental Health Issues
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Alando Terrelonge
(Photo: Nickieta Sterling)
Jamaica Information Service: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is looking to set up a 24-hour helpline that will provide support for children with mental health issues.

State Minister, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, who made the disclosure, said that the move is in keeping with the Government’s focus on promoting good mental health among the nation’s youth.

The helpline will be operated by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

Mr. Terrelonge, who was addressing the CPFSA’s budget planning and quarterly performance review retreat at the Riu Hotel in Ocho Rios on Thursday (October 10), said that a large number of children with behavioural problems are afflicted by mental health conditions.
Read More

The Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation Heart and Sole 5K for World Heart Day

The Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation Heart and Sole 5K for World Heart Day
The Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation held its Heart and Sole 5K on the 21st September 2019 in commemoration of World Heart Day!

See many more photos here.

St Kitts & Nevis Government Holds Activities to Increase Public Awareness of Mental Health

Michelle de la Coudray-Blake
Director of the Counseling Department in the Ministry of Social Services, St Kitts & Nevis, Michelle de la Coudray-Blake
(Photo: WIC News)
WIC News: Several informative and engaging activities were held between October 6 and 11, 2019 to bring greater awareness to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts said the Director of the Counseling Department in the Ministry of Social Services, Michelle de la Coudray-Blake.

The activities were held to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2019 (October 10). Blake stated on Wednesday, October 9, while appearing on the radio and television show “Working for You.” She stated that this year’s World Mental Health Day is being held under the theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”
Read More

CCHSRD Newsletter “Better Health Systems...Healthier Lives”

CCHSRD Newsletter “Better Health Systems...Healthier Lives”
In this edition:
  • Editorial: One Year After its Launch - Exciting Developments at the Centre
  • Caribbean Community of Practice for Health Policy and Systems Research: A Vehicle to Strengthen the Conduct and Uptake of HPSR
  • in the Caribbean
  • Trinidad & Tobago to Host its First National Health Research Conference: Advancing Health Research
  • Research Highlight: Remarkably High Rates of Dementia in the Elderly in Trinidad
  • Canadian Students Leave their Mark at the CCHSRD: McMaster Interns Contribute to HPSR in the Caribbean
  • CCHSRD Research Training Workshops Launched: Building Capacity in Multi-level Modelling and Regression Analysis
Read more

World Food Day Message The Hon. Indar Weir, M.P.

World Food Day Message The Hon. Indar Weir, M.P.
Photo: Stock Photo
Barbados GIS: ON October 16th, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security joined with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in celebrating World Food Day.  The theme “Our actions are our future, healthy diets for a zero hunger world”, reminds us of the importance of healthy eating and the necessity of having sustainable programmes and policies in place that would effectively work to eradicate hunger.

Hunger is defined not only as the absence or scarcity of food, but also the lack of a consistent, balanced diet.  Statistics indicate that 842 million people suffer from hunger worldwide, mostly in developing countries. 
Read More

Minister of Agriculture Brings Attention to Living a Healthy Lifestyle for World Food Day

St Kits & Nevis Observer: Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, said World Food Day 2019 presents his Ministry with the opportunity to draw attention to the hungry; those in danger of going hungry, and those who are far removed from going hungry but are not eating healthily, in his observance address to the nation Wednesday October 16.
Read More
Related Media:

Singapore to Become First Country to Ban Advertising for High-Sugar Drinks

The Independent: Singapore is to become the first country to ban adverts that promote drinks with a high sugar content.

The ban was announced by Edwin Tong, senior minister of state for law and health at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Singapore Health and Biomedical Congress.

The ban will apply to adverts across print, broadcast and online platforms. It is understood to come into force at some point next year. The politician referenced the “war on diabetes” in his speech, a campaign launched in 2016 by Singapore’s Ministry of Health to reduce the number of cases of diabetes across the city-state.
Read More
Related Media:

Tax and Ban Unhealthy Foods Say UK Top Doctor

Tax and Ban Unhealthy Foods Say UK Top Doctor
Photo: Getty Images
BBC: Snacking should be banned on public transport and extra taxes placed on unhealthy foods to tackle child obesity, England's outgoing chief medical officer says.

In her final report as CMO, Dame Sally Davies also called for tighter rules on advertising and takeaways. She said children needed more help as they were "drowning in a flood" of unhealthy options.
Read More
Related Media:
NHS Boss Condemns English Cricket’s Sponsorship Deal With KP Snacks

NHS Boss Condemns English Cricket’s Sponsorship Deal With KP Snacks

Guardian: Simon Stevens says ECB’s Hundred tie-up with maker of Hula Hoops undermines fight against childhood obesity read more
Severe Obesity Among Children Aged 10 to 11 at Record High

Severe Obesity Among Children Aged 10 to 11 at Record High

Guardian: Official figures show 4.4% of year 6 pupils in England need medical help for obesity. Levels of severe obesity among children in the last year of primary school have hit an all-time high read more

HCC Technical Brief and Eight Advocacy Priorities

HCC Technical Brief:
HCC Technical Brief: First United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage: Technical Brief for CARICOM Countries - A Contribution from Civil Society.
Read download
HCC Advocacy Priorities
HCC Advocacy Priorities for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

Cancer Support Services Newsletter

Cancer Support Services Newsletter
In this edition:
  • A Message From Our President
  • A Guide to Dealing with Fatigue in Cancer Treatment
  • How Counseling Benefitted Me
  • How the Palliative Care Nursing Enrichment Programme is beneficial
  • PEMF Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency Therapy
  • Healthy and Unhealthy Fats
  • Counseling and Pastoral Care: A Safe Mind Space to Recuperate
Read more

HCC Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies

Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
We have created social media graphics to campaign for the implementation of our Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies. The graphics can be downloaded here.
Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard
NCD Alliance


In this edition:
  • Are you working on an innovative project? Share it with us!  
  • The face of child malnutrition is changing, warns UNICEF
  • Keep your spine healthy, get active this World Spine Day
  • Tackling obesity would boost economic and social well-being
  • Submit session proposals for the next World Cancer Congress
  • A fragility fracture every 3 seconds worldwide. That's Osteoporosis!
  • WHO launches first World report on vision
Read more

Please Help to Monitor the Health of Caribbean Schools

My Healthy Caribbean School (MHCS) is an initiative of the HCC which provides students, teachers and parents with the opportunity to monitor the school environment with a focus on nutrition and physical activity.
Find out more

Key Messages From Our Publications

NCDs - Context and Situation Summary

Taken from: First United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage: Technical Brief for CARICOM Countries – A Contribution from Civil Society
NCDs - Context and Situation Summary
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Forthcoming Events
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Reversing The Trend Of Late Stage Cancer

Reversing The Trend Of Late Stage Cancer
Read more
Our Publications
CARD 2018: Youth: Let’s Talk About Alcohol
A set of infographics and social media graphics
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Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable Infographics
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable Infographics - guidance on serving sizes for common Caribbean fruits and vegetables
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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 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.

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