The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

March 18th - March 24th 2016


Greater Policy Coherence across Trade and Health Ministries needed in CARICOM

An urgent call for collaborative policy development across trade and health was one of the key messages emerging from a seminar held on Wednesday April 23rd at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Shridath Ramphal Center for International Trade Law, Policy and Services. The seminar entitled: International Trade & Health aimed to educate the public on the important intersections and linkages between trade and health as well as to explore how the two regimes can be mutually supportive.  The seminar discussed issues in WTO dispute settlement including the WTO plain packaging (PP) dispute against Australia; and also commented more broadly on governments' scope to implement strong, relevant and effective health regimes in light of their WTO obligations as well as those under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.
Nicole Foster
Mrs. Nicole Foster, law lecturer at Cave Hill Faculty of Law and HCC International Trade Policy adviser (see photo above) was among the keynote speakers as well as an organiser of the seminar. The first session of the seminar addressed challenges of the intersection of treatment health and provided some background on the process used by the WTO in arbitrating International disputes.  After a series of presentations in which various perspectives were presented based on past health related disputes, Mrs. Foster closed with an urgent appeal to CARICOM countries to strengthen internal policy processes to ensure that trade policy  is developed in consultation with health and other related sectors. Mrs. Foster noted her disappointment that CARICOM countries, with the exception of Trinidad and Tobago, had not exercised their rights to influence the global debate around around plain packaging by participating as third parties in the dispute. Moving forward, Mrs. Foster hoped that when the PP decision was announced CARICOM countries would ensure that their voices are heard at the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body to adopt the ruling. 

HCC Supports Australia in PP Dispute

Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging (WT/DS434 & WT/DS435, WT/DS441, WT/DS458, WT/DS467)
In May 2014, following requests from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Ukraine1 and Indonesia, the WTO established dispute settlement panels to judge the WTO-consistency of Australia’s legislation implementing the Guidelines on plain packaging, developed pursuant to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (‘FCTC’). The complainants’ arguments are based on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (‘GATT 1994’), the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (‘TBT Agreement’) and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (‘TRIPS Agreement’). A record number of WTO Members (forty one in total, including the five complainants) joined one or more of the five disputes as third parties2. Notably, Trinidad & Tobago is the only CARICOM Member State participating as a third party in these disputes3.

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) submitted an amicus curiae brief as part of these WTO dispute settlement proceedings. This amicus curiae brief focussed primarily on the intellectual property aspects of the dispute. In particular, HCC emphasised that the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement must be interpreted in light of the 2001 WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. It further argued that such a reading of the TRIPS Agreement would lead to a conclusion that Australia’s legislative measures do not violate the TRIPS Agreement. More generally, HCC emphasised the need to preserve the policy space for all states, including WTO Members, to implement strong and effective health policies.

These disputes are very significant because they will involve a legally binding determination of the relationship between WTO rules and those of non-trade agreements such as the FCTC. They can also potentially establish new parameters for the application of the public health general exception under Article XX of the GATT 1994. The panellists appointed for all of the disputes are: Mr. Alexander Erwin (South Africa) (Chair), Mr. François Dessemontet (Switzerland) and Dame Billie Miller (Barbados). A ruling from the panel is not expected before the first half of 2016. Once the ruling is issued, any of the main parties to the dispute can appeal the ruling to the WTO Appellate Body whose determination of any such appeal would be final4.

Ukraine has since withdrawn as a complainant in this dispute.
As such these Members would be able to receive the parties’ first submissions on the dispute, to be heard by the panel and to submit written submissions to the panel.
It joined as a third party to the complaint initiated by the Dominican Republic.
Appeals are limited to points of law.
HCC Webinar for World Health Day
Trade Policy & NCDs - Challenges & Opportunities for the Caribbean

The HCC will be conducting a webinar between 11am-12pm (EST) on Thursday April 7th 2016 in celebration of World Health Day.

The webinar will feature presentations from HCC Special Advisors in Trade Policy, Mrs. Nicole Foster and Mr. Vincent Atkins.  
Register Here
World Health Day 2016
HCC Civil Society Membership Mapping

The HCC, with the support of the NCD Alliance/ Medtronic Philanthropy, will be conducting a detailed capacity assessment of Caribbean civil society organisation working in NCDs. The goal of the assessment is to understand the capacity, development, and activities of CSO HCC members, seeking to capture the issues and factors needed to advance their work for the achievement of their objectives.  

The findings of the assessment will inform the upcoming HCC 2017 strategic plan.

The assessment represents an important step in strengthening CSO actions in support of NCD prevention and control in the Caribbean; the HCC is counting on and anticipating the full participation of health CSO members.

If You have received a link to the survey we encourage you to complete it and help us to help you.

Heart to Heart in Parliament

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Red Dress Ball
Barbados Houses of Parliament was the venue for an historic gala evening organized by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados and which took place on Saturday 19th March.

Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Lady Belgrave headed an impressive list of dignitaries for the Red Dress Ball, held to raise awareness and support for issues of heart disease in women. Fittingly, 90 per cent of the ladies in attendance wore red for the social evening of music, heart healthy food and video presentations.

When it was time for the Heart & Stroke Foundation president Humphrey Metzgen to give his address, he made full use of his "rare privilege" to speak in Parliament. 'Here in Barbados, according to the Health Of The Nation Study, commissioned by the Ministry of Health last year, two thirds of our adult population are either overweight or obese; two out of five have hypertension and a quarter have abnormally elevated blood sugar, which all predispose to heart disease and stroke, so that on average about one heart attack and almost two strokes occur every day in Barbados."  he related. Read more.

Also featured in the Barbados Nation News here.

APHA-Global Public Health Film Festival

American Public Health Association
The APHA Global Public Health Film Festival (The Festival), organized by the Health Communication Working Group, showcases films of all varieties (feature films, documentaries, narratives, television shows, public service announcements, educational videos, short clips, etc.) and related multimedia that demonstrate, educate, inspire, and encourage change for a healthier future.

Have you created a public health PSA, video or movie? Submit it to APHA’s film festival here.

Fruit Juices and Smoothies Contain 'Unacceptably High' Levels of Sugar

Fruit Juices and Smoothies Contain 'Unacceptably High' Levels of Sugar
‘Healthy’ drinks marketed to children often contain as much sugar in one portion as a child should consume in a day, say researchers.

Fruit juices, smoothies and fruit drinks marketed to children and their parents contain “unacceptably high” levels of sugar, often as much in one small carton or bottle as a child should consume in a day, according to research.

The paper published in the journal BMJ Open comes in the wake of the chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of a tax on sugary soft drinks – but fruit juices and smoothies are exempt. The researchers say tough action is needed to reduce the amount of sugar children consume in fruit drinks that are bought and sold on the assumption that they are healthy. Read more

Cancer Support Services 20th Anniversary

Celebrating 20 Years of Hands to Care, Hearts to Share, Sunday April 17th, 2016, 4pm, at the First Baptist Church, Constitution Road, St. Michael.
World Happiness 2016
World Happiness Report 2016
The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The first report was published in 2012, the second in 2013, and the third in 2015. The World Happiness Report 2016 Update, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, was released today in Rome in advance of UN World Happiness Day, March 20th. Leading experts across fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy and more – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations.
The reports review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness. They reflect a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as a criteria for government policy. Read more or download the report directly here. Also see the article in the Lancet here.

Joint Initiative on Tobacco Control in the Americas

A joint initiative carried out by the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law of the Georgetown University (O’Neill Institute), Fundación Interamericana del Corazón Argentina (FIC Argentina) and Action On Smoking & Health (ASH), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has granted us a thematic hearing to discuss the issue of the tobacco epidemic in the Americas as a human rights problem. The audience will be held on April 5th in Washington DC.

The initiative would like to bring the voice of a greater number of organizations working on tobacco control in the region, and therefore we ask for the support of your institutions to the document available here.

To show your support please email on behalf of your organization.
World Day for Physical Activity
Please register your event here.
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Latest
A Wonderful Evening...The Heart & Stroke Foundation expresses thanks to all those persons who supported this year's Go Red Event.

Fish for the season, has become such a tradition. 
Of note is that eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack.

Read more from the Heart & Stroke Foundation newsletter here.

Plant Based Nutrition Conference and Expo

Caribbean Institute of Nutrition and Dietetics
Plant Based Nutrition Conference and Expo
Hilton Barbados Resort June 30, 2016 8:30am - 4:30pm. Barbados Scenic Tour On July 1, 2016.

Including Expert Speakers: Dr. Joycelyn Peterson USA, Dr. Ralph Peterson, USA, Pastor Alexander Isaacs T&T, Dr. Damien Henry B'dos, Dr. Natalie Greaves B'dos, Pastor Ricardo Selman B'dos, Mrs. Esther Selman B'dos.

Conference Info here.
Registration Form here.
Exhibitor and Sponsor info here.
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NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • "Sugar tax: UK takes steps in the right direction", says IDF
  • Halting TB & diabetes 
  • CSW60 update
  • 'What We Do': Explore our 2016-2020 priorities
  • Tobacco control and the human right to health
  • AHC Ambassadors’ Forum
  • Online Global Health Course
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.
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