The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

July 1st - July 7th 2017


Heads Called to Urgent Action around Tobacco control and Childhood Obesity

CARICOM Heads of Government
The region’s public health leaders including Sir George Alleyne (HCC Patron), Dr. James Hospedales (Executive Director, CARPHA; HCC Senior Special Advisor) and Dr. Alafia Samuels (Director, George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre) gathered in Grenada yesterday, July 6th, the final day of the 38th Meeting of Heads of CARICOM to present a unified call to action, recalling the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration and highlighting the gravity of the current NCD situation in the Caribbean. The 10th anniversary of the seminal Port of Spain Declaration was used as an opportunity to ask Heads of State to reaffirm their commitment to NCDs and accelerate the implementation of NCD policies in support of the Framework Convention on Tobacco control (FCTC) and addressing the region’s crisis of obesity and overweight amongst our children. 
Sir George Alleyne
Alafia Samuels
10 years after the Heads of Government of CARICOM Summit on NCDs there has been a wane in political buy-in and action around NCDs. In contrast to the 9+ CARICOM Heads of State attending the 2011 UN High Level Meeting (UNHLM) ON NCDS, no CARICOM Head of Government attended the 2nd UNHLM in 2014, signalling a dampening of commitment at the highest levels.  The lack of NCD policy priority has translated into unsatisfactory regional progress in meeting NCD targets.  As of 2015, less than half of CARICOM countries were on track to meet the 25*25 global targets (25% reduction in NCD related mortality by 2025).  The 2015 Global NCD Progress Monitor and the PAHO Country Capacity Survey found that only 3/14 CARICOM countries scored higher than 4 out of a total of 18 fully achieved measures (Jamaica -9; Suriname -7; and Barbados -6). The other 11 countries scored 3/18 or lower. NCDs are responsible for 40% of premature deaths and continue to consume our national health budgets at alarming rates when our struggling economies simply cannot bear the burden of unchecked health expenditure. Action is not negotiable. 
Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director, CARPHA; HCC Senior Special Advisor
The HCC joined the voices of the regional public health community in our Open Letter to CARICOM Heads shared in last week’s roundup calling on Heads to reaffirm their collective commitment to addressing the epidemic of non communicable-diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean. As the 2018 UNHLM approaches we trust that the Heads of Government meeting in Grenada provided an opportunity to assess regional NCD progress since 2007 and chart the way forward; committing to an ambitious agenda of accelerated NCD action - placing the region on a trajectory which brings our countries closer to achieving the 25*25 Global NCD targets and the health related targets within the 2030 Agenda. The HCC and partners have identified priority policy areas - tobacco control, childhood obesity, and multisectoral action - and will support governments in the implementation of ‘best buys’ in lead up to the 2018 HLM and beyond. 
See more images from the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) here.

Soundbites from the CARICOM Heads of Government Closing Press Conference 

At the Closing Press Conference of the 38th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting, the way forward with NCDs was discussed. Conference Chair, Hon. PM Mitchell underscored the gravity of the situation and the commitment of Heads to address NCDs through legislation firstly - and public education. Hon. PM Holness of Jamaica repeated the commitment to action. While acknowledging the responsibility of the state however, Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador LaRocque emphasised individual responsibility. 

The reality is that the states - not individuals - have created unhealthy and obesogenic environments and calling on individuals to now take ‘responsibility’ for their health within these very same environments, may not yield the anticipated changes in behaviours and declines in NCD prevalence. 

What  is needed is an enabling environment via policies and legislation and an informed public taking personal responsibility.
"It is 10 years my friends since the historic Port of Spain declaration, uniting to stop the epidemic of chronic noncommunicable diseases, which was issued following the seminal CARICOM heads of government summit in 2007.
We are aware that we have fallen behind in the battle of against these deadly diseases and also in fulfilling the goals of the declaration. One of the most alarming signs is the high incidence of childhood obesity - a major risk factor for NCDs. And this is a troubling statistic in our region - probably throughout every country in the Caribbean region at this time.  
We have issued a statement reiterating our determination to curb the ravages of these diseases through legislation and intensified public education activities. We simply cannot afford to continue the lifestyle and food consumption patterns that are literally killing us."

Prime Minister of Grenada Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell
Chair of the Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
"We all have a responsibility, yes we can put our rules and regulations, we can put our tobacco labelling, we can impose taxes on sweets and salts and the like but every one of us has a responsibility for our lives as well, we do, we are the ones who feed ourselves, we are the ones who consume saturated fats, and we are the ones who are contributing to our own ill health."
Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
"Some very good recommendations were made and all the Heads agree that they would put there best efforts to implement them, particularly as it relates to smoking and tobacco use and the consumption of sugar and salt and exercise and leading a generally healthy lifestyle. We encourage all countries and all people to take this very seriously."
The Most Hon. Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica

Mike Bloomberg Announces Support to Fight Obesity in the Caribbean

Mike Bloomberg Announces Support to Fight Obesity in the Caribbean
Yesterday, July 6th, at the 38th Heads of Government Meeting, Mike Bloomberg announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies will be investing in obesity prevention in the Caribbean. Drawing on global success in tobacco control and recent emerging successes in obesity prevention, Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with regional and national partners to expand their obesity prevention programme into Barbados and Jamaica. 
Given the unacceptably high rates of childhood overweight and obesity in the region, the HCC welcomes this new initiative and which aligns with one of the key asks contained in HCC’s recent Open Letter to Heads at the 38th Meeting.  HCC will shortly be launching a Civil Society Action Plan for Childhood Obesity Prevention. 
Watch the announcement

CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting Press Coverage

Closing Press Conference - CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting
Closing Press Conference - CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting - Thirty-Eighth meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, 6 July, 2017 recording of the press conference courtesy of the Ministry of the Presidency, Guyana. watch here
Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines
A CARICOM Head of Government reflects... - H.E. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, was one of the original signatories of the Port of Spain Declaration. Here are his thoughts on what has been achieved in the last 10 years. Read more
Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister calls for urgent action in addressing NCDs - Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, made a clarion call for greater attention to be placed on addressing cases of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean region. Read more
More Taxes For Bad Habits
More Taxes For Bad Habits - CARICOM Health Experts Call For High Levy On Deadly Lifestyle Choices - In 40 years, life expectancy in Jamaica only increased by five years, compared to some CARICOM nations, which have seen dramatic improvements. Read more
Public health high on CARICOM heads agenda
Public health high on CARICOM heads agenda - PUBLIC Health is being placed high on the agenda as regional leaders meet in Grenada for the Thirty-Eighth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Read more
CARICOM 38 | Leaders to face call for more action on NCDs - Ten years after CARICOM led the world in convening the very first conference of Heads of Government on non-communicable diseases Ten years after CARICOM led the world. Read more
Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris
PM Harris to address CARICOM Heads Meeting today on health matter - St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, is expected to address his CARICOM colleagues, Wednesday, July 5, during the business session of the meeting. Read more
HCC Open Letter
HCC wants CARICOM Heads to address NCDs - The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) has issued a call to CARICOM Heads of Government to reaffirm their collective commitment to addressing the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean. Read more

Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Port of Spain Declaration

Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Port of Spain Declaration
View/download the full infographic

NCD Alliance Our Views, Our Voices

NCD Alliance Our Views, Our Voices
HCC encourages the Caribbean to participate in this excellent initiative and help to shape the future response to NCDs.
Caribbean views and voices and contributing to this global agenda through the HCC cancer community conversation, held in October 2016 of which one of the key outcomes was the HCC Caribbean Cancer Alliance Cancer Advocacy Agenda 2017. Let’s continue to add our voices and participate in this important initiative. 
Our Views, Our Voices is an initiative by the NCD Alliance and people living with NCDs that seeks to invite people from all over the world living with a range of different NCDs to share their views, take action, and drive change. 

The NCD Alliance are consulting people living with NCDs from across the world until the 31st of August, 2017, to identify the common issues faced, main recommendations for action, and to understand how people living with NCDs would like to be meaningfully involved in the NCD response.
Read more
The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative 2016-2017 Annual Progress Report

SickKids-Caribbean Initiative 2016-2017 Annual Progress Report

The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative 2016-2017 Annual Progress Report. This document captures the many important milestones collectively achieved over the past year and notes the work still to be done. We encourage you to read the report and share it with your respective partners, hospital and ministerial contacts, colleagues and friends.
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Students Walk to Spread NCD Awareness

Students Walk to Spread NCD Awareness
Primary and secondary school students were the ones trying to impart knowledge yesterday as they participated in a charity fun walk to spread awareness about non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their effects on the youth.

Decked in colourful shirts and holding placards, they started out at the Barbados Community College and walked along Two-Mile Hill, St Michael, stopping and interacting with onlookers.

The students participating in the Schools Against Non- Communicable Diseases Charity Fun Walk spoke to members of the public about the purpose of the walk and invited them to get free health checks at the American University of Barbados (AUB) where the trek ended and a health fair was held.
Read more

Building Bridges with Australia in Batting for Cancer

Batting for Cancer
Australian High Commission to Jamaica, H.E John Pilbeam paid a courtesy visit to the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS).

JCS Executive Director Mrs Yulit Gordon updated the High Commissioner on the use of the US$20,000 grant received by the Society from the Australian Direct Aid Programme a year ago. The funds were used by the society for the sole purpose of supporting its work in cervical cancer screening and education.

The visit of the Australian High Commissioner forms part of the Cancer Society's 'building Bridges' initiative, aimed at improving relations with foreign missions in Jamaica.
Read more

Cancer Support Services 6th Annual Conference 2017

Cancer Support Services 6th Annual Conference 2017
Cancer Support Services has once again hosted its 6th Annual Conference at the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa.

The conference took place on Saturday June 24, 2017 under the theme “It’s Not a Sprint, It’s a Marathon” which was conceptualized as a result of the many painstaking steps we have to take with our clients as they undergo treatments and therapies and the drastic effects that they have to endure as a result. Last year we tried to take the face off the disease.  This year we attempted to show the courageous fight of those striving to overcome the disease.
Read more

Music Students Give Back to the Jamaica Cancer Society

Music Students Give Back to the Jamaica Cancer Society
The University Chapel came alive with the sound of music performed by the High Achievers of the ABRSM Exams 2017, on Sunday, May 28, 2017. Musical talents from as early as seven years of age were on display to the excited audience filled with proud family members, friends, sponsors and the musical fraternity.

Practice-A-Thon Jamaica, an initiative launched by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in partnership with the Jamaica Cancer Society, was established to encourage music students across Jamaica to become more disciplined in practising for their examinations whilst raising funds to benefit young people faced with cancer. This year Practice-A-Thon Jamaica raised Two Hundred and Twenty-Six Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty-Seven Dollars. Overall, the initiative has raised in excess of Half a Million Dollars for the Jamaica Cancer Society’s youth programme.
Read more

NCD Civil Society in Focus

NCD Civil Society in Focus
NCD Civil Society Atlas: Submissions Now Open!

The NCD Alliance call on all national and regional NCD alliances to submit descriptions of their best Advocacy, Awareness, Accountability, and Access initiatives by the 21st of July for a chance to be featured in a new NCD Civil Society Atlas publication and receive an award.

Submit up to four of your collaborative NCD initiatives for consideration by a review panel. Find out more about eligibility and assessment criteria on our website and reach out to us at with any questions or queries. 
Read more

Sagicor Staff Wellness Team Challenge for 2017

Sagicor has launched it's 'Fit for Life Wellness Challenge 2017', this includes screening for blood glucose and cholesterol levels, also blood pressure, weight and body mass index (BMI).

Also included in the Fit for Life Wellness Challenge are fitness classes such as Zumba for which bonus steps are awarded for participation.

HCC Publications

Civil Society Led Tobacco Control Advocacy in the Caribbean
Civil Society Led Tobacco Control Advocacy in the Caribbean:
The experiences of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC)

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 
See All HCC Publications

Cancer Support Services PSA Testing

Read more

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

Caribbean Cardiac Society
Read more

AC3 Conference 2017

AC3 Conference 2017
Read more

WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases

Enhancing policy coherence between different spheres of policy making that have a bearing on attaining SDG target 3.4 on NCDs by 2030. 
Montevideo, Uruguay, 18-20 October 2017
WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases
World Health Organization (WHO) is organizing the Global Conference on Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs): Enhancing policy coherence between different spheres of policy making that have a bearing on attaining SDG target 3.4 on NCDs to, by 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from NCDs through prevention and treatment. The Conference is hosted by the President of Uruguay from 18 to 20 October 2017 in Montevideo. 
Read more

World Cancer Conference 2018

World Cancer Conference
Read more
NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • Shape the Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs
  • NCD Civil Society Atlas: Submissions now open! 
  • Promoting healthy food environments in the SDGs 
  • Caricom HoS celebrate tenth anniversary of POS Declaration
  • NCD civil society coalition discusses priorities in Uruguay 
  • Join our August webinar
  • Seed Programme Training 
Read more

From the NCD Alliance Digest

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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.

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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