The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

January 13th - January 26th 2017


'Taxation of Sugar Sweetened Beverages - Does it Improve Health?'

The dialogue around taxation of SSBs continues in the Caribbean as obesity rates rise at an alarming rate according to a recently released joint FAO/PAHO report.
A public lecture entitled 'Taxation of Sugar Sweetened Beverages - Does it Improve Health?'' took place on 20 January at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. The lecture was chaired by Dr. Alafia Samuels, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) who noted in her introductory remarks that ‘lack of food sovereignty’ was contributing to the regional epidemic of overweight and obesity.  Dr. Samuels went on to point out that of the 15 ‘fattest’ countries in the world 11 are Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as those in the Caribbean.
This is believed to be largely related to lack of food sovereignty and the resulting heavy reliance on the importation of heavily processed foods.  The lecture was extremely well attended and sparked conversations around public perception of the tax especially in challenging economic times; the role played by industry in absorbing some of the tax; different models of taxation including the UK model which encourages industry reformulation to lower sugar levels; and the importance of a suite of interventions to support taxation.

Regional and international experts gave the following presentations: 
SSB Taxes in the Caribbean - progress and challenges. Partners' support - Dr Godfrey Xuereb, PAHO/WHO representative, Barbados.
Dr Godfrey Xuereb
SSB taxes globally and in the UK, Justification for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) taxes, evidence of impact, and the need to evaluate - Dr. Jean Adams, Senior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge.
Dr Jean Adams
Evaluation of SSB in Barbados - Miriam Alvarado, PhD Candidate CDRC/CalHR, University of Cambridge.
Miriam Alvarado

"Childhood obesity WILL affect development in the Caribbean"

Dr. Godfrey Xuereb

"When the markets are small such as in the Caribbean, large multinational companies can  very easily absorb the tax, [resulting in low pass through rates and minimal change in the cost of SSBs]. This further underscores the need to carefully assess the level of the tax and strongly consider raising the tax to 20%"
Dr. Godfrey Xuereb

'"The prevention and control of NCDs is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of Health but requires a whole of society response. Each and everyone  of us can do something for NCD prevention"
Dr. Godfrey Xuereb

"The Barbados 10% tax is associated with a 6.3% increase in the cost of SSBs. Companies are absorbing part of the tax hence we are not seeing the full pass through rate. The tax is not a magic bullet and must be a part of a larger comprehensive response"
Ms Miriam Alvarado
Graphics Specialist

When Our Own Weakness for Sweetness Could Kill Us

Weakness for Sweetness
Fizzy and sugary beverages are tempting to many, refreshing to guzzle and easy on our pockets; but they come at a high price - be it obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer, soft drinks can wreak havoc on your health. Time and time again, medical practitioners and experts have warned Barbadians to curb their desire for soft drinks and sugary juices and to replace them with healthier options such as water, coconut water or natural juices. And with good reason, when one considers the skyrocketing levels of noncommunicable diseases in Barbados and the accompanying crippling health care costs. Read more

Advancing the Right to Health: the Vital Role of Law

Advancing the Right to Health: the Vital Role of Law
This report aims to raise awareness about the role that the reform of public health laws can play in advancing the right to health and in creating the conditions for people to live healthy lives. By encouraging a better understanding of how public health law can be used to improve the health of the population, the report aims to encourage and assist governments to reform their public health laws in order to advance the right to health. The report highlights important issues that may arise during the process of public health law reform. It provides guidance about issues and requirements to be addressed during the process of developing public health laws.
It also includes case studies and examples of legislation from a variety of countries to illustrate effective law reform practices and some features of effective public health legislation. Read more

Donation of Two AED Units by the Chinese Embassy

Donation of Two AED Units by the Chinese Embassy
On Tuesday 17th January 2017, the Heart & Stroke Foundation were honoured to receive a visit from Ambassador Wang Ke and her party from the Chinese Embassy. The Chinese Embassy generously donated two AED units to the Foundation which were gratefully received by Mr. Humphrey Metzgen (President), Dr Kenneth Connell (Vice President) and Fiona Anthony (CEO).

Ambassador Wang and her party received a tour of the Foundation followed by a press conference where Mr. Metzgen, Ambassador Wang and Fiona Anthony gave speeches.

Press coverage:

Cancer Support Services First PSA Screening of 2017

Cancer Support Services PSA Screening
Cancer Support Services held its first PSA Screening for 2017 on Saturday January 14, 2017 at “Arborside”, Belmont Road where over 85 men came out to be screened.
Consultant Urologist Dr. Jeetu Nebhnani, MBBS, DM had an interactive question and answer session with the men.
Special thanks to MediLab Services Inc., TECH 9 Crime Prevention, Security and Bailiff Services and Cancer Support Services PSA Screening Team. Read more

Appointment of New CEO of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc.

Fiona Anthony
The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Fiona Anthony MBA BSc (Hons) MCSP MPPC as their new CEO. She assumed responsibilities on January 9th 2017.

“We are very excited to welcome Fiona into the position of CEO and the Board of Directors is confident that she brings the necessary skills and experience to lead the Foundation in our fight to reduce the prevalence of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases within our society,”
Said the President of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Inc., Mr. Humphrey Metzgen.

Mrs. Anthony said (that) she was honoured to have been selected for the position and looks forward to further developing the mission of the Heart & Stroke Foundation 'to keep people heart healthy and reduce the suffering from heart disease and stroke. Read more

Other press coverage:

Wellness Workshop for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Wellness Workshop
Cancer patients and survivors' ongoing health is incredibly important. It can be challenging to keep mentally and physically healthy especially during ones cancer journey. 

Nina London, a Certified Wellness and Weight Management Coach, is hosting a wellness workshop for cancer patients and survivors. 

When: Thursday, Feb 9, 2017, Time: 6pm - 7:30pm at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre.

More information click here.

Overweight Affects Almost Half the Population of All Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Except for Haiti

While hunger and malnutrition have fallen, overweight and obesity have greatly increased, especially among women and children.
Overweight Affects Almost Half the Population
January 19, 2017, Santiago, Chile - Obesity and overweight are on the rise throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and are particularly prevalent among women and children, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean, noted that close to 360 million people - around 58 percent of the inhabitants of the region - are overweight with the highest rates observed in the Bahamas (69 percent), Mexico (64 percent) and Chile (63 percent). Read more

Processed Foods Drive Surge in Obesity Rates in the Caribbean, Says UN-backed Report

Processed foods drive surge in obesity rates in the Caribbean, says UN-backed report
Obesity and overweight are on the rise throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, and are prevalent particularly among women and children, according to a new United Nations-backed report.

Nearly 360 million people, or 58 percent of the inhabitants of the region, are overweight with the highest rates observed in The Bahamas at 69 per cent, Mexico at 64 percent and Chile at 63 percent, according to a news release on the Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean report, compiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Read more

World Cancer Day 4th February 2017

World Cancer Day 2017

Breast Cancer Two Times Higher In The Caribbean Than United States

Breast Cancer Two Times Higher In The Caribbean Than United S
In a recent study, researchers from Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the rates of death from cervical, breast, prostate and colon cancers are two to nine times higher in the Caribbean compared to the United States. Only lung cancer was higher in the US.

The study also reported that prostate cancer, a common cause of death among Caribbean men, accounted for 18 per cent to 47 per cent of cancer deaths, while lung cancer accounted for five per cent to 24 per cent and was the second-highest cause of cancer deaths among males. Breast cancer, the main cause of cancer death among females, accounted for 14 per cent to 30 per cent of cancer deaths and are up to two times higher compared to the US. Read more

Tobacco Control Playbook Helps Policy-makers Counter Aggressive Tobacco Industry Tactics

Tobacco Control Playbook
Tobacco is an extraordinary problem requiring extraordinary action. The WHO European Region has made significant progress in tobacco control in recent decades, including through the adoption of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the development of a roadmap of actions that was signed by health ministers of the Region in 2015. Despite these commitments and this progress, tobacco control remains difficult and complex. The tobacco industry and its allies have consistently opposed effective tobacco control measures, and their strategies and efforts to subvert the policy process have become even more determined, focused, misleading, aggressive and sophisticated. Read more

5th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research: Integrating Cancer Research for Improved Global Health

5th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research
National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland In conjunction with the 8th Annual CUGH Conference. Co-Sponsored by NCI Center for Global Health and CUGH. Registration to open January 30, 2017. For more information, please contact

International Women in Wellness Conference 2017

Yes She Can
Register here.

Funding and Training Opportunities

Tobacco Use and HIV in Low and Middle Income Countries (R01) Research Project Grant. Open Date: March 4, 2017

Tobacco Use and HIV in Low and Middle Income Countries (R21) Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant. Open Date: March 4, 2017

Apply to the NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention. Registration is now OPEN to all applicants and is required due to space limitations. The deadline for all applicants is February 15, 2017.

Implementation Science for the Prevention and Treatment of Mental and/or Substance Use Disorders in Low- and Middle-income Countries (U01) Research Project – Cooperative Agreements. Open date: March 7, 2017

Call for mental health research proposals. The deadline for applications will be 11 April 2017, 4.00pm BST (3.00pm UTC)
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
The New CEO...
of The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados...

New AED's Dontated...
by the Chinese Embassy 

After A Stroke isn't all  talk

Read more here
NCD Alliance Newsletter
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  • NCDA's advocacy briefing for WHO Executive Board
  • UN 2018 High-level Meeting on NCDs: NCDA Process Priorities
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 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.

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