The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

July 22nd - July 28th 2017


Landmark Anti-smoking Bill Passed in Guyana - Tough Fines for Violators

The HCC and the JCTC congratulate the Guyana Government on the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill. Guyana joins 4 other countries in the Caribbean who have honored their commitment to the FCTC. The Guyana tobacco bill includes important measure regarding smoke free public spaces, graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorship. We urge other Caribbean states to follow suit and the countries that do not have comprehensive laws to speedily update their current tobacco control laws. 

The recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government  Meeting reiterated the importance of measure to reduce the health impact of NCDs, the passage of tobacco regulation is an important component of this action
Public Health Minister for Guyana, Volda Lawrence
The Guyana National Assembly has passed the landmark Tobacco Control Bill 2017 which will target smoking in indoor public places and ban advertising of tobacco products.

The bill was passed by a vote of 32 to one with 23 abstentions.

During the five hours of debate, which saw a total of 13 members argue the merits of the long-awaited legislation, the government side of the House was full of praise while the opposition argued that the bill managed at the same time to do too much and not enough.

The Tobacco Control Bill provides for the adoption and implementation of tobacco-control policies in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The legislation serves as the legal regulator for administration, inspection and enforcement, while providing legislative protection from exposure to second- hand smoke by eliminating public smoking.

Media coverage:

The Antigua Tobacco Control Bill Debate

The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC) and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition are highlighting an article regarding the passage of a tobacco control bill in Antigua.

Antigua is in the process of submitting a tobacco control bill to Parliament, this is very god news for Antigua, who ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in June 2006. We understand from an editorial in the Antigua Observer recently that a recent debate on the matter in Parliament became a contentious issue, in that there are opposing views about banning smoking in public places.

All CARICOM countries save Haiti, have ratified the FCTC, the World Health Organization’s first public health treaty was developed in response to the world’s tobacco epidemic and it reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health.

Here are some of the important provisions the treaty calls for parties to the convention to do:
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke exposure on public transport, and indoor work and public places;
  • Enact and undertake comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
  • Implement rotating health warnings on tobacco packaging that covers at least 30 percent (ideally 50 percent or more) of the display areas – this may include pictures or pictograms;
  • Adopt or maintain taxation policies aimed at reducing tobacco consumption; and
  • Combat illicit trade in tobacco products. 
Five countries in the Caribbean have now passed tobacco control legislation which restricts tobacco smoking in public places. This is an excellent measure and research has consistently shown that implementing smoke free public spaces has recorded a significant reduction in illnesses due to second hand smoke and even a reduction in smoking rates. Having signed and ratified the FCTC, Antigua is bound by its provisions and should enact them as quickly as possible.
5 countries in the Caribbean have already passed tobacco control legislation
Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Suriname and Guyana all faced strong tobacco industry interference which sought to derail and delay the passage of tobacco control legislation, however good senses and effective lobbing prevailed. Antigua will be no different and more than likely, tobacco company interference is playing a role in this debate with similar objectives.
Persons wishing to smoke will be able to do so in areas designated and in areas that are not classified as a ‘public space’, the banning is more related to protecting those persons not smoking from the devastating effects of second hand smoke rather than a ‘rights’ issue for smokers. In the Caribbean countries that have passed smoke free laws, there has been very good compliance for banning smoking in public places – even from the tourists who visit the islands.
Tobacco use is a risk factor for the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – the most significant health risk to our society. The recently held CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Grenada highlighted the issue of NCDs. They recognised that the Caribbean Community had not sufficiently advanced the recommended actions of the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration which included measure to reduce NCDs, and in that regard the Heads of Government recommitted themselves to the promotion of healthy lifestyles to combat the epidemic of NCDs.

The HCC and the JCTC urge the government of Antigua to push ahead with the Tobacco Control Bill in Antigua and pledge our full support throughout the process and post passage of the Bill. 
- Prepared by Barbara McGaw, Tobacco Control Advisor for the JCTC and the HCC

Read the original article here.
Additional related media: Importers have their say on proposed Tobacco Bill

More on Tobacco Control on the HCC Website:

Tobacco Control: Mobilising Caribbean Cancer Societies 

HCC will be working with the American Cancer Society’s Global Prevent20
The HCC will be working with the American Cancer Society’s Global Prevent20 initiative to mobilise Caribbean Cancer societies around tobacco control.

Prevent20 is a global coalition of cancer groups calling on governments to raise tobacco taxes, the single most effective tobacco control intervention. The movement’s name is in recognition of the more than 20% of all cancer deaths that are attributable to tobacco use – and completely avoidable.
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UN Secretary General Lauds CARICOM Leadership on Global Issues

UN Secretary General
As CARICOM and United Nations meet in New York to discuss how the international body can better support the Region’s strategic goals, UN Secretary-General, H.E. António Guterres has lauded CARICOM’s leadership on many pressing global issues.

He highlighted CARICOM’s spearheading of the General Assembly’s discussion on non-communicable diseases.

“I am aware that, translating this vision into action, the CARICOM Heads of Government during their recent summit in Grenada, adopted a set of recommendations on measures to address the rise of NCDs in the region.”
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As stated in last weeks roundup the Healthy Caribbean Coalition believes that CARICOM Leaders fall short of their 2007 predecessors in the context of NCD Prevention and control, the 38th Meeting Communiqué binds our leaders to essentially very little other than support for public health education initiatives.
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“Whole of Society” Approach Needed to Combat NCDs says PAHO Rep

Country Program Specialist (CPS) at the Pan American Health Organization, Shirley Augustine
Country Program Specialist (CPS) at the Pan American Health Organization, Shirley Augustine, has stated that in order to combat the rise in Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), there must be a “Whole of society” approach taken where all sectors should play a role in producing a healthy society.

NCDs such as heart disease, cancers, hypertension and diabetes are seen as a major public health problem in Dominica with evidence of significant burden on the health and well-being of the population. These diseases are in the top ten leading causes of death in Dominica.
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Barbados Government Sets 2019 to Reduce Obesity

Next year 2019 is the date the Ministry of Health has set to achieve a reduction in childhood obesity with a target of five per cent.This was revealed by the Acting Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Ingrid Cumberbatch who delivered a presentation on ‘Barbados – Childhood Obesity Prevention Programme’ at the Ministry of Social Care recently.

She said that in order to achieve this target there are a number of objectives that they would be focusing on, including that mothers are only breastfeeding their children up to six months.

Echoing comments made by Paediatrician, Professor Anne St. John, she stated that some mothers tend to feed their children other foods, and unhealthy ones at that and this is a practice that they would like to see end.
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More on Childhood Obesity on the HCC Website:

PAHO: Caribbean Alcohol, Tobacco and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Taxation Workshop Report

Caribbean Subregional Workshop on Alcohol, Tobacco and Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) Taxation
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) held a “Caribbean Subregional Workshop on Alcohol, Tobacco and Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) Taxation”, in Barbados on May 16-17, 2017, aimed at positioning taxation of these commodities as cost-effective public health measures for the prevention and control of NCDs in the Caribbean.

The meeting was attended by 70 participants, including officials from the Ministries of Health and Finance of 17 Caribbean countries and territories, as well as key subregional and international partners, Professor Sir Trevor Hassell and Maisha Hutton represented the HCC.The 2-day workshop comprised presentations), panel discussions and a working group session, and was organized around 4 main themes: the landscape of NCDs and RFs in the Caribbean; the cost-effectiveness of taxes as measures to reduce consumption of alcohol, tobacco and SSBs; an overview of taxation policies in the Caribbean; and country experiences in implementing taxation.

The Workshop report is now available.
Read or Download the Workshop Report

NCD Alliance - Have your say: Consultation Open for People Living with NCDs

If you have or have had an NCD, or if you are a carer, partner or close to someone who has, make your mark on the Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs by responding to the NCD Alliance's online consultation.

Submissions must be made by the 31st of August.

Watch the introductory video below.
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The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Plan Strategically for the Future

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
The Directors and Senior Staff Members of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados met recently at the Radisson Hotel, Bridgetown to develop its Strategic Plan for 2017 - 2020. The meeting was expertly facilitated and coordinated by Mrs. Rosalind Jackson, Managing Director of Caribbean Catalyst and her team. The session elicited healthy discussions and conceptualized the new mission of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados.
The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc. (HSFB) is a non-profit organization with a new mission to emphasize the importance of education, early detection and preventative measures in addressing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, in particular cardiovascular diseases in Barbados:
“To promote and support heart health and reduce suffering and death from heart disease and stroke”
The HSFB is committed to living this mission through the development of the dedicated team of Directors, employees and volunteers at the organization. Focus will also be concentrated on the established and accredited programmes offered at the HSFB to include the Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) Programme, delivering first aid, basic, advanced and paediatric life support courses and the Cardiac Disease Prevention and Rehabilitation (CDP&R) Programme offering a complete rehabilitation service to persons who have suffered from a cardiac event, stroke or who are at high risk of a cardiovascular event from occurring.
The importance of serving the needs of the community with respect to education, support and advice in all areas of cardiovascular disease was of the highest priority coming out of the Strategic Planning Meeting of the HSFB, working alongside other Civil Society Organisations and the Ministry of Health. During the meeting, the commitment of the HSFB to the combined effort to reduce childhood obesity in Barbados was also confirmed.
The HSFB looks forward to a very busy and exciting three years as the organisation works resolutely to execute its 2017 - 2020 Strategic Plan.

WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases

The WHO Global conference on NCDs, organized by the Presidency of Uruguay and the World Health Organization, is being held on 18-20 October, 2017, in Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. The President of Uruguay, Dr Tabaré Ramón Vázquez, says that the conference offers a unique opportunity to accelerate action to prevent and control NCDs, including cardiovascular and chronic pulmonary diseases, cancer, and diabetes. The focus of the conference will be on promoting health and action against NCDs across all areas of government policy making – not health alone.
Join the global movement to #BeatNCDs or #VenceralasENT
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Human Rights and NCDs - Integrated and Indivisible

What are human rights and how are they relevant to NCDs?
What are human rights and how are they relevant to NCDs?

“Ensuring the ‘right to health’ in the context of NCDs means ensuring the rights to education, income, housing, food, information and work. All must be provided without discrimination.”

The UN Interagency Task Force on NCDs is currently unpicking the complex links between human rights and NCDs, to provide guidance and a common set of messages across the UN system and to review the global NCD accountability framework through a human-rights lens. This is not only about the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of treatment; in addition, the prevention of NCDs is inextricably bound up with other social determinants.

Ensuring the ‘right to health’ in the context of NCDs means ensuring the rights to education, income, housing, food, information and work. All must be provided without discrimination. The impact of the private sector is also important: while companies do not have formal human rights obligations under the international treaties (the primary obligation is on governments), they are called upon to respect human rights.
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Urgent Need to Strengthen and Expand Screening and Other Cancer Control Programs in the CARICOM Caribbean

Cancer Causes & Control
A paper written by Renee A. Franklin & Donald T. Simeon from the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago has recently been published in the online journal Cancer Causes & Control.

With high mortality in breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancers in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, the paper examines cancer control initiatives including screening as well as the implementation of relevant international and regional mandates.
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SickKids Update
  • SCI News and Events
  • SCI in Pictures
  • Rounds Round-Up - Case Consultation Review Rounds 
  • Spotlight On... PAHO Childhood Cancer Working Group
  • Operations Summary
  • Letter from the Co-Chairs
Read more

The Global War On Tobacco Is Far From Over

The Global War On Tobacco Is Far From Over
ONE could easily be mistaken for thinking the war on tobacco is coming to a close. Lighting up a cigarette mid-flight seems absurd to us now, but was common practice just a decade or two ago. We enjoy restaurant meals and afternoon coffees without the stench of toxic smoke and we can share a night out without having to wash our clothes, or endure a husky, sore throat the following morning.

At the global level, there is good news too. According to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) this week, 63% of the global population are now covered by policies such as strong tobacco warning labels and smoke-free public places – a quadrupling in coverage since 2007 alone. In the 7 years to 2014, more than 53 million people in 88 countries stopped smoking because of anti-smoking measures driven through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC); this framework itself represents an incredible achievement from the global community.
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World Cancer Conference 2018 Latest Updates

World Cancer Conference 2018
  • The five thematic tracks that will outline the 2018 Congress programme.
  • What is new?
  • Patient Group Pavilion Programme – call for best practice sharing
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PAHO: Job Opportunity: Advisor, Diabetes Prevention and Control

PAHO: Job Opportunity: Advisor, Diabetes Prevention and Control

Job opportunity in the PAHO NCD program in Washington, DC - Advisor, Diabetes Prevention and Control.

The contract is for two years (first year probationary period), the closing date for applications is August 16, 2017.
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Drinking a Few Times a Week 'Reduces Diabetes Risk'

Drinking a Few Times a Week 'Reduces Diabetes Risk'
A study of more than 70,000 men and women found consuming alcohol three or four days a week was associated with a reduced risk of 27% in men and 32% in women, compared with abstaining. Wine was found to have a bigger effect than beer, probably because it contains chemical compounds that improve blood sugar balance, scientists said. But there was a warning to women to stay clear of the gin bottle. A daily tipple of "mothers' ruin" or other spirits increased the diabetes risk to women by 83%.

Dr Emily Burns, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, said people needed to be wary as "the impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of type 2 will be different from one person to the next".

While the findings were interesting she said they "wouldn't recommend people see them as a green light to drink in excess of the existing NHS guidelines".

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HCC Publications

Caribbean Civil Society CervicalSodium Adds Up – A Comparison of Sample Meal Plans in Barbados (Infographic)
Sodium Adds Up – A Comparison of Sample Meal Plans in Barbados (Infographic)
A Spoonful of Sugar – The “Not So Sweet” Truth About Barbados’ Breakfast Cereals
A Spoonful of Sugar – The “Not So Sweet” Truth About Barbados’ Breakfast Cereals 
See All HCC Publications

World Heart Day 29 September 2017 

Share the Power
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AC3 Conference 2017

AC3 Conference 2017
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NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • Have your say: Consultation open for people living with NCDs
  • No health without oral health 
  • A call to fight NCDs together 
  • NCD Civil Society Atlas 
  • Stomp out #fakemeds 
Read more

The NCD Alliance Digest

NCDs News Risk Factors News
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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.
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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