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Healthy Caribbean Coalition

February 17th - February 23rd 2019


Caribbean Moves Towards Taxing of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

HCC Op Ed Prepared by Sir Trevor Hassell
Caribbean Moves Towards Taxing of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Jamaica Observer: With skyrocketing rates of overweight and obesity facing Caribbean nations, policymakers are increasingly being challenged to find solutions for this public health emergency.

This challenge was significantly responded to this year in January when the Government of Jamaica implemented guidelines to restrict the sale of sugary beverages in Jamaican schools. This bold move aimed at modifying the drinking habits of young Jamaicans who may be 'drinking themselves sick', helped to underscore Jamaica's leadership role in the Caribbean in implementing progressive health policies, however, more is needed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), the Pan American Health Organisation, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) have all recommended a complete package of policy interventions to effectively halt and reverse obesity.
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Professor Fitzroy Henry Calls For Sugary Drinks Tax

Prof Fitzroy Henry
Fitzroy Henry, professor of public health nutrition at the University of Technology (UTech), and consultant cardiologist Dr Andrene Chung, chairman of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), chat with students from Seaward Drive Primary School about sugary drinks as the Heart Foundation of Jamaica launches Phase 4 of the ‘Are We Drinking Ourselves Sick?’ campaign.
Photo credit: Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Jamaica Gleaner: The Government should move post-haste to levy a tax of at least 20 per cent on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) as a disincentive to consumption and pump the revenues into programmes focused on health promotion and obesity prevention, professor of public health nutrition Fitzroy Henry has suggested.

Henry, in delivering the keynote address as the Heart Foundation of Jamaica launched Phase 4 of its ‘Are We Drinking Ourselves Sick?’ campaign yesterday, argued that such a move was in the best interest of safeguarding the health of the citizenry, reiterating that consumption of SSBs is a major contributor to obesity and non-communicable diseases.

“We have to protect particularly our children, and the message, really, is for us to do whatever is necessary,” Henry said.
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Related Media:

Double the Tax on SSBs

Double the Tax on SSBs
Barbados Today: Government can expect more lobbying from health care professionals insistent on changes to the tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB).

Though the ten per cent tax has resulted in a 4.3 per cent decline in sales, according to a recent study, Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre (GA-CDRC) Professor Alafia Samuels does not believe this goes far enough to help fight the non-communicable diseases problem facing Barbados.

“You can’t predict what the Cabinet is going to decide but I’m hopeful because added sugars in sodas and other drinks is such a health risk in and of itself, quite apart from obesity or anything else. Just the way the sugar is delivered to your body, if it comes in liquid form, is much more deleterious or dangerous than if it comes in solid form,” she said.

Professor Samuel was one of the authors of the study that examined the effect of the tax on sales.
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Beyond the Call to Action Event Report Published

Beyond the Call to Action Event Report
Beyond the Call to Action Event: Towards School Policies in Support of Childhood Obesity Prevention, took place on Tuesday November 20th, 2018, United Nations Universal Children’s Day, at the Hilton Hotel, Barbados.

The event was supported through a grant from the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB) and HCC’s ongoing support from Sagicor Life Inc.. The event took place in partnership with Barbados Ministry of Health and WellnessBarbados Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational TrainingBarbados National NCD Commission, Barbados Wellness Task Force, Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention CoalitionPAHOCARPHAUWI Open CampusJamaica Moves and Caribbean Moves.

The meeting  provided a unique opportunity for CSOs to take stock of progress made over the course of the implementation of the Call to Action and to share national and regional successes and lessons learned in childhood obesity prevention advocacy platforms.  The one-day forum also served to leverage the energy and momentum of the past seven months and redirect it towards focussed evidence-based advocacy in support of creating healthy school environments in Barbados and across the region.
Read/Download the Report

Obesity Rising Among Students in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago
(left) Andrew Dhanoo, President of the Diabetes Association of T&T 
Photo credit: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian: At least 50 per cent of primary and secondary school children are overweight and are at risk of becoming diabetics.

This startling statistic was disclosed as a Joint Select Committee on Social Services and Public Administration met to examine the current levels of childhood obesity and what the State was doing to promote a healthier lifestyle among children.

Among the initiatives, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health implemented in 2017 was the restriction of sugary drinks being sold in schools.

The schools also rolled out 4H Clubs to encourage physical activity among children.

The factors that have led to childhood obesity the committee heard were poor diet and inactivity.
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Related Media:

Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard (COPS)

COPS Regional Snapshot
The HCC launched the Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard (COPS), which tracks childhood obesity prevention policies and programmes across the Caribbean, in October 2018. COPS are available for all CARICOM member countries and associate member countries.
Kindly take a look at your country’s COPS and email , with ‘COPS’ in the subject line to: 
  • Submit updates on COP policy action in your country
  • Report an error on the COPS.
  • Express your interest in receiving regular COPS updates on country progress via email.

Jamaica Moves Against Cancer

Dr. the Honorable Christopher Tufton
Dr. the Honorable Christopher Tufton, Jamaica Minister of Health
Photo source: Jamaica Gleaner
An estimated 9.6 million people die each year from cancer.

By 2030, experts project cancer deaths to rise to 13 million. In light of this, the Union for International Cancer Control, established World Cancer Day. The Union for International Cancer Control, is the largest and oldest international cancer organisation dedicated to taking the lead in convening, capacity building and advocacy initiatives that unite the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity, and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

The Jamaica Moves behaviour change campaign, as the country’s coordinated national response to the increased incidences of NCDs (Diabetes, Hypertension and certain Cancers) aims to reduce Non-Communicable Disease by 25% by the year 2025 through education, engagement and the building of supportive environments. 
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Sagicor Hosts 'Go Red for Women' Event

Wellness Nurse for Sagicor Life Inc
Wellness Nurse for Sagicor Life Inc, Rosanna Springer (left) explaining the benefits of getting regular health checks done, during the company’s ‘Go Red for Women’ event
Photo source: Barbados Advocate
Barbados Advocate: Sagicor Life Inc. Barbados is playing its part in the fight against heart disease on the island, especially as it pertains to women. To this end, the insurance company hosted a “Go Red for Women” event at its Belleville location, under the theme “Our Heart Beats For Women’s Health”.

Persons who were conducting business in the customer service area had the opportunity to consult with the registered nurse present and get some free health checks.

“Today is part of a collaborative, joint effort between our Customer Experience Department and the Sagicor Group Life and Health Department,” explained Wellness Nurse for Sagicor Life Inc., Rosanna Springer.
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Life Course Approach to Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases

Life Course Approach
Photo Credit: Pixabay/kalhh
Many of the health problems we encounter in adulthood stem from our experiences early in life—in some cases, even from before we are born.  The major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and mental disorders) are often associated with older age groups, but the evidence suggests that they affect people of all ages. Fifteen million deaths attributed to NCDs occur between the ages of 30 and 69 years and people from all age groups are vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to NCDs. 

NCD prevention is most effective when it targets a problem at its roots. Taking early, appropriate, timely, and collective action  is important if we are to reduce premature mortality related to NCDs by a third by 2030 - a sustainable development goal that has been affirmed through political declarations by heads of states and governments. A life course approach is an inclusive approach that considers the needs of all age groups and addresses NCD prevention and control in its earliest stages and is recommended in the World Health Organization’s global action plan for prevention and control of NCDs.
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Barbados Moving To Place Nutritional Label Up Front

Barbados Moving To Place Nutritional Label Up Front
The national consultation on proposed changes to the CARICOM Regional Standard – Specification for the Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods (CRS 5) was held at the Warrens Office Complex in St. Michael.
Photo credit: GP
Barbados GIS: Barbados, like other CARICOM member states, is taking steps towards ensuring all nutritional information related to pre-packaged food is displayed on the front of the package.

This was underscored recently by Chief Technical Officer (Specifications Development) at the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), Fabian Scott.  He was speaking about the rationale for hosting a national consultation on proposed changes to the CARICOM Regional Standard – Specification for the Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods (CRS 5) and by extension the national equivalent BNS 5 Part 2.

Pleased at the response to the consultation held on February 12, at the Warrens Office Complex in St. Michael, Mr. Scott said its key objective was to inform industry partners and consumers of the major change in the standard.
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Related Media:

Three Years Into Soda Tax, Sugary Drink Consumption Down More Than 50 Percent in Berkeley, California

Taxes may be a promising new tool in the fight again obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Soda Tax
Science Daily: Consumption of sugary drinks in Berkeley's diverse and low-income neighborhoods dropped precipitously in 2015, just months after the city levied the nation's first soda tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Three years later, residents in these neighborhoods reported drinking 52 percent fewer servings of sugary drinks than they did before the tax was passed in November 2014, shows a new report from the University of California, Berkeley. This drop more than doubles the 21 percent decline found in 2015. Water consumption also saw a bump, going up 29 percent over the three-year period.
Read more
Related Media

Obesity News from Across the Globe

Pacific Childhood Obesity
Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

Pacific Childhood Obesity a Public Health Epidemic

Radio NZ: The growing problem of obesity among Pacific children is a slow motion disaster, Fiji's Minister of Health says. Read more

Related Media:
Fiji Sun: Teenagers Top Obesity List for Children in Fiji
Fiji Sun: Childhood Obesity, A Growing Concern In the Pacific
Alarming Rise in Obesity-Related Cancers
Photo: Stock Image

Alarming Rise in Obesity-Related Cancers in Young Adults

American Institute for Cancer Research: A new analysis raises the alarm that the rates of obesity-related cancers are rising in younger and younger adults. Findings from a new study published in The Lancet Public Health indicate that six obesity-related cancers have significantly increased between 1995-2014. Read more
Junk food Britain
Photo: Shutterstock/Margouillat

Junk food Britain: Obesity crisis 

UK Daily Mail: Junk food is taking over UK high streets with 5,809 new takeaways opening in just three and half years, experts have warned.

A major report by the Food Foundation think-tank says cheap, unhealthy food is driving Britain's spiralling obesity crisis. 
Read more
Child's obesity risk can start in the womb
Photo: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Child's obesity risk can start in the womb 

UK Daily Mail: A child's risk of being obese may start with genetic changes in the womb caused by their mothers diet, new research shows. Read more

Related Media
Education and Job Opportunities

HCC Consultancy Opportunity

Equitable Access to Essential NCD Medicines in the Caribbean

HCC Consultancy Opportunity
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) is seeking to contract an individual to undertake an assessment of the situation around equitable access to essential NCD medicines in the Caribbean. The Terms of Reference (TORs) for the consultancy can be viewed here. 
Interested, individual consultants should submit their curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter via email to the HCC at the following email address: with the subject: Access to Essential NCD Medicines Consultancy. 
Applications will not be accepted after Thursday February 28th, 2019.
Please feel free to contact Maisha Hutton, Executive Director, if you have any questions.
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Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
Programme Assistant - HSC

Health Unit – Castries, LC
Programme Assistant - HSC
The OECS Health Unit sits within the Human and Social Cluster of the Social and Sustainable Development Division of the OECS Commission. The Unit works closely with its partners PAHO/WHO and CARPHA in delivering to Member States technical and programmatic support in priority health areas. The Four major Pillars of the OECS Health Agenda are:
  • Health Empowerment and Healthy Environments
  • Equitable Access to Sustainable Quality Health Services
  • Accessible Information for Strategic Governance of Health
  • Long term Investment for Resilient Health Systems
The OECS Health Unit, through two World Diabetes Foundation funded projects, Diabetes Prevention and Care Project and Addressing Diabetes in Disasters in Eastern Caribbean Island States Project intends to address several of these pillars in the area of diabetes.  

Closing date 12 March, 2019.
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WHO: Advisor, Health Economics and Financing

Fixed-term appointment, two years, first year probationary period, based in Bridgetown, Barbados, closing date Feb 27, 2019, 10:59:00 PM.

This requisition is for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The subregional level of PAHO/WHO’s technical cooperation (TC) is recognized functionally, programmatically, at organizational level, and in the PAHO Budget Policy. Subregional TC is aimed at meeting the needs of a group of countries in their pursuit of the subregional health development goals within the framework of the Organization’s collective mandates.
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University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus

Master of Public Health (MPH)
Master of Public Health (MPH)
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Certificates in Public Health
Certificates in Public Health
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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
Key Messages from the Third Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day
Sobering Myths & Misconceptions
Youth and Alcohol Don't Mix
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The NCD Alliance


  • UHC on the menu at AMREF Africa Health Agenda 2019
  • Have your say in the HLM on UHC - deadlines approaching!
  • Join 5 March launch webinar - Community on Women & NCDs
  • Announcing My NCDA Hub, an online space for members
  • New book reveals unethical practices of Heineken in Africa
  • Chilean food regulations driving change, study finds
  • PAHO analyses national NCD plans in the Caribbean
Read more
Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard
Forthcoming Events


Barbados National Registry Celebrates 10th Anniversary

BNR 10th Anniversary
March 3rd, 2019, Church Service at the  at New Dimensions Ministries, Barbarees Hill, St Michael at 8am.
March 9th, 2019 from 10am - 3pm 10th Anniversary Extravaganza here at the GA-CDRC grounds. The event will feature Opening Remarks by Lt. Col. The Hon. Jeffrey D. Bostic, M.P., Minister of Health and Wellness, it will also feature comments by Professor Hassell, Professor Samuels and Dr Natasha Sobers, followed by health activities. 
April 5th, 2019, the BNR, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be hosting a 10th Anniversary CME Seminar and Public Lecture at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Read more


CARPHA Health Research Conference - Primary Health Care : Current and Future Models for the Caribbean

CARPHA Conference
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Our Publications
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable  Infographics
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable

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An Insight into Depression in the Caribbean
An Insight into Depression in the Caribbean Infographic 

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