The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

June 24th - June 30th 2017

HCC Open Letter to CARICOM Heads of Government
Dear Honourable Heads of Government of CARICOM,
In this, the 10th anniversary year of the landmark Port of Spain Declaration (POSD) on NCDs, the members of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, call on you, the leadership of the 15 member states and 5 associate member states of CARICOM to reaffirm your collective commitment to addressing the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean.

The HCC, borne out of the 2007 Port of Spain meeting, is a regional alliance of NCD focussed civil society organisations (CSOs), representing over 120 health and non-health CSOs in the region. We advocate for NCD programmes and policies across the region in partnership with CSOs, PAHO, CARPHA and CARICOM.

10 years ago, in an unprecedented event, Heads of Government of CARICOM acknowledged the urgency of chronic diseases as a development issue and called on each other to launch an impressive regional response defined by the 15 mandates and 27 commitments of the POSD. A catalytic effect followed leading to the global acknowledgement of the seriousness of the issue and the first ever UN high-level meeting on NCDs in 2011.

Fast forward to 2017. NCDs remain the leading cause of mortality and are now responsible for 40% of premature deaths in those under 70 years. They consume national health budgets at a rapid rate, as government efforts are largely focussed on secondary and tertiary treatment. Diabetes prevalence in our region is twice the global prevalence and our amputation rates are astronomical. Tobacco smoking amongst 13-15 year olds in the Caribbean is the highest in the Americas; alcohol continues to pose significant challenges with no solution in sight due to lack of political currency; physical activity levels are low; and we have some of the highest rates of adult and childhood obesity in the world. We have lost our food sovereignty as importers of up to 80 percent of the foods we consume. Our regional food systems are in dire need of restructuring to favour local sustainable production of healthy options and decreased consumption of highly processed energy dense nutrient poor imports.

The upcoming Heads of Government meeting will serve as an opportunity to assess regional NCD progress since 2007 and chart the way forward; committing to an ambitious agenda of accelerated NCD action, and placing us on a trajectory which brings countries closer to achieving the 25*25 Global NCD targets and indicator 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

The HCC supports a whole of society, multisectoral approach to NCD prevention and control and thus wholly commits to assisting our partners in the public sector and the private sector to achieve short and longer-term NCD targets. Having recently completed HCC’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, we have identified 3 key priorities and we call on you, our region’s leaders to support action across these key areas. Our call for action is supported and echoed by regional partners including PAHO, CARPHA, and CARICOM. Priority areas are as follows:
  1. Childhood obesity: Policies which halt/reverse adult and childhood obesity. These include:
    • Taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages and other unhealthy foods.
    • The banning of the sale and marketing of unhealthy foods in and around schools.
    • The banning of marketing of unhealthy foods to children and adolescents.
    • Regulation for mandatory front of pack labelling of packaged foods.
  2. Tobacco control: Implementation of the Articles of the FCTC to which all Caribbean countries are signatories.
  3. Multisectoral Action: Support at the level of the Head of State for the strengthening and/or establishment of National NCD Commissions or their equivalents to support the multisectoral response to NCDs.
The upcoming meeting of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Grenada, is a singular opportunity for our region’s leaders to respond to the call of the people of the region and recommit to another ‘decade of action with a difference’ - in which the region continues to trail blaze and asserts itself as a leader in achieving the 25*25 targets and the 2030 NCD targets. The 2018 UNHLM will provide a global stage to announce this commitment and the 12 months leading up to it, the opportunity to demonstrate this commitment through an increased momentum in NCD policy and programming – particularly as it relates to regulation in the area of nutrition policy (SSB taxation) and tobacco control. 

Should you take this bold step, we, Caribbean civil society, pledge our support and partnership.
Maisha Hutton, Executive Director, on behalf of the President, Directors and Members of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition.
View/download the letter
Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Port of Spain Declaration
View/download the full infographic

38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government

Landmark CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting
CARICOM leaders will be meeting in St. Georges Greneda from July 4-6, 2017 for the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  NCDs will be a priority area for discussion as Heads celebrate the 10th anniversary of the landmark 2007 Port of Spain declaration to stop the epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NDCs) and look back on the progress made in the implementation of the actions specified in the POSD.  The findings of the Port of Spain Evaluation will be used to inform Heads of successes, challenges and gaps in regional NCD prevention and control efforts and reaffirm political leadership and action at the highest levels in support of accelerated action in lead up to the 2018 UNHLM and the achievement of the 25*25 global NCD targets and Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda. 
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NCD Alliance 2017 UN High-level Political Forum Advocacy Briefing

This NCD Alliance briefing document provides guidance to national and regional advocates regarding the UN High-level Political Forum and outlines concrete opportunities for engagement.
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90% of Children Have Tasted Alcohol by the Age 14

Professor Sir Trevor Hassell
A Quarter of all 13 to 15-year-olds in Barbados have admitted to getting “blind drunk” at least once. In addition, said Sir Trevor Hassell, data has revealed that almost 90 per cent of children have had their first taste of alcohol before they were 14.

Sir Trevor, the chairman of the Commission on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, was speaking at a forum that brought together masquerade bandleaders, youth advocates, members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, non-governmental organisations, mixologists, manufacturers and producers of alcohol, as well as other stakeholders, for a dialogue on the safe use of alcohol. It was held at Savannah Hotel on Friday 30th June.
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Childhood Obesity Being Tackled On, Off field by Sagicor and UWI Sport

Childhood obesity being tackled on, off field by Sagicor and UWI Sport
Students of 10 primary schools were fed a strict diet of physical activity and nutritional tips today at the UWI Academy of Sport, as the facility teamed up with sponsor Sagicor to help curb bad practices amongst the island’s youth.

Chad Glasgow, Corporate Communications and Marketing Officer, Sagicor Life Inc., told the media that the day’s activities were strategic in their continued quest to develop healthier kids and by extension healthier adults in the long-term. He said:

“A lot of people in the country have recognised that childhood obesity as well as NCDs among our primary school students is increasingly high. I think it’s increased  20 points over the past 20 years which is relatively scary, so the basis of this initiative is to support healthier lifestyles in our students, simply because we believe prevention is better than cure.”
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Caribbean Healthcare Professionals Form Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Association   

Caribbean Healthcare Professionals Form Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Association   
Port of Spain Trinidad - With the number of people living with dementia projected to reach 74.7 million in another 13 years and 131.5 million in 2050, a group of Caribbean healthcare professionals has come together to form an association to tackle the problem here in the region.

The Alzheimer’s Association of the Caribbean (AAC) was launched during the fourth Alzheimer Disease International (ADI) Non-Latin Caribbean Regional Conference in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this month. The three-day meeting was hosted by the Alzheimer Association of Trinidad and Tobago with the support of Alzheimer’s Disease International, the global voice on dementia, under the theme “Dementia in the Caribbean: No time to Lose”.
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Obesity - Can We Stop the Epidemic?

Obesity - Can We Stop the Epidemic?
Special Report by Madeline Drexler, Editor, Harvard Public Health.

Have you ever looked at old photos from 1970s protest marches? Feminists demanding the Equal Rights Amendment, environmentalists calling for clean air and water, gay liberation, the Black Panthers, the Chicano movement, on and on: In each case, committed and strategically canny people translated personal and group experiences of injustice into the mobilizing power of the collective.

Look closer at the photos. Just as arresting as the fashions and the hairstyles and the palpable air of urgency around still-urgent issues is another detail: To contemporary eyes, people look thin. We now know that in the United States in the 1970s, two public health crises were germinating. One was HIV/AIDS, the victims of which were consigned to the shadows until activism forced changes in research funding, medical protocols, and social attitudes.
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Should NCDs be re-branded
We would like your opinion on whether Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) should be 're-branded'
Please click on the link below to let us know your views.
Should NCDs be Re-branded?

Eating for 2 Degrees - New and Updated Livewell Plates

Eating for 2 Degrees - New and Updated Livewell Plates
Food is at the heart of many of the environmental issues WWF works on. And with 20% of total global direct carbon emissions linked to food and agriculture, it’s clear that we urgently need changes our current food system if we want to keep temperature rise well below 2 degrees as stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

Changing what we eat can make a major contribution to the environmental performance of the food system, and the new and updated Livewell Plates in this report illustrate the minimal dietary changes required to reach the 2 degree target. By following simple steps presented in the report – such as eating more plants, legumes and grains – could help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. 
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Eating Red Meat Raises Risk of Death from Nine Major Diseases

Eating Red Meat Raises Risk of Death from Nine Major Diseases
The consumption of red meat increases the likelihood of dying from nine major diseases, a new American study claims.

Eating beef, lamb and pork hikes susceptibility to death from cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney, liver and lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even infections, the researchers found.

They nevertheless said that regularly eating white meat may reverse the damage, with those who frequently consume chicken and fish 25 percent less likely to die from various diseases than those who rarely eat white meat.
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Assessing the Economic Costs of Unhealthy Diets and Low Physical Activity

An evidence review and proposed framework (2017)
Unhealthy diets and low physical activity contribute to many chronic diseases and disability; they are responsible for some 2 in 5 deaths worldwide and for about 30% of the global disease burden. Yet surprisingly little is known about the economic costs that these risk factors cause, both for health care and society more widely.
Assessing the Economic Costs of Unhealthy Diets and Low Physical Activity
This study pulls together the evidence about the economic burden that can be linked to unhealthy diets and low physical activity and explores
  • How definitions vary and why this matters
  • The complexity of estimating the economic burden and
  • How we can arrive at a better way to estimate the costs of an unhealthy diet and low physical activity, using diabetes as an example
Report by Christine Joy Candari, Jonathan Cylus and Ellen Nolte.
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HCC Publications

A Civil Society Report on National NCD Commissions
A Civil Society Report on National NCD Commissions in the Caribbean: Towards a more Effective Multisectoral Response to NCDs. Part I
The Caribbean Private Sector Response to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
The Caribbean Private Sector Response to Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs): A Situational Analysis and Framework
for Action 

See All HCC Publications

Cancer Support Services PSA Testing

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

Caribbean Cardiac Society
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AC3 Conference 2017

AC3 Conference 2017
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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. 
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World Cancer Conference 2018

World Cancer Conference
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NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • Promoting healthy food environments in the SDGs 
  • 2017 UN High-level Political Forum Advocacy Briefing
  • New partnership to tackle NCDs in the workplace 
  • Facing the scourge of diabetes in Africa
  • 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health 
  • New: Webinar recording online 
  • NCD Training Modules
Read more
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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.
Copyright © 2017 Healthy Caribbean Coalition, All rights reserved.

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