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May 27th

Featured

Blog Post by Sir Trevor Hassell

COVID-19 and Food Security - The Time Is Now for a Paradigm Shift in the Way We Produce and Consume Healthy Food in the Caribbean

Blog Post by Sir Trevor Hassell
As the Caribbean begins to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic there is much consideration being given to legacies of the pandemic which will contribute to the socio-economic development of Caribbean people.

Many of these legacies are expected to be in finance, how we do business, use of technology, and diversification of economies leading to more resilient countries better able to respond to the ever increasing shocks of climate change, natural disasters, and recurrent pandemics. 

Of equal importance and need is a COVID-19 health legacy resulting in the greatest number of people receiving effective, affordable care in healthy national environments facilitated by pro-health policies and legislation.

Paramount among the health conditions to which attention should be paid are the chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the links between NCDs and infectious diseases with people living with NCDs and obesity being more susceptible to severe complications and death from COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Food Security
The increased attention to NCDs has brought into sharp focus the large numbers of people living with NCDs (4 out of 10 adults in many Caribbean countries ) with some 8 out of 10 deaths being due to this group of diseases. Obesity and overweight are at critical levels in the Caribbean with almost every country reporting that at least 50% of all adults are overweight or obese and some countries reporting rates as high as 70%.
Read more

My #COVIDSTORY - Voices of PLWNCDs in the COVID-19 Era: We Want to Hear From You! 

My #COVIDSTORY
Hand in hand, with civil society organisations across the region representing PLWNCDs and their families, HCC is launching My #CovidStory - Voices of PLWNCDs in the COVID-19 Era.
 
As part of the HCC COVID-19 Communication Strategy and HCC’s Our Views Our Voices initiative, we are shining a light on the experiences of Caribbean people living with NCDs (PLWNCDs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are asking PLWNCDs and those caring for them to share their stories of coping in the new COVID-19 reality – their fears and their triumphs. The stories, in the form of text, audio or video will be used to inform HCC advocacy. It is our hope that these voices when shared, will inspire a virtual Caribbean community, united and strengthened by shared experiences and a collective will to overcome this challenge. 
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted all sectors of our Caribbean region. It has shaken up our islands and emphasized the unique needs of our vulnerable populations. Persons living with non-communicable diseases (PLWNCDs) are a vulnerable population of this pandemic based on their increased susceptibility to contracting COVID-19. In most Caribbean countries, 1 out of every 10 adults has one or more NCDs. On March 27th 2020, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) implored the CARICOM Heads of Government in its Open letter to CARICOM Heads of State and Government about NCDs and COVID-19 to respond proactively to threats posed to PLWNCDs by this pandemic by implementing specific measures including access to healthy foods, essential medicines and treatment. The unique needs of PLWNCDs were further highlighted in the HCC COVID19 Communication Strategy released on March 31st 2020
 
We understand that PLWNCDs, as well as their family members and caretakers, have been affected differently by this pandemic and have unique stories to tell - we want to hear from you. We want to hear your #COVIDstory. Share your challenges and how you may have overcome them as well as your successes and how you may have celebrated them.
 
Please send a short story (no more than 300 words), video (no more than 1-2 minutes) OR an audio clip and picture of yourself (no more than 1-2 minutes) via email to hcc@healthycaribbean.org. The HCC will be compiling and using these personal accounts to inform our advocacy work. Stories will be shared publicly with consent or limited to internal use to highlight individual challenges and successes.
 
Here are some stories we have already collected for inspiration. We applaud the courage of these individuals and look forward to hearing your #COVIDStory.
My #COVIDSTORY
My #COVIDSTORY
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Caribbean CSOs Responding to COVID-19

Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association Inspired by Fellow CSO, Donates Healthy Food Items to Persons Living With Diabetes

Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association
Civil Society Organisations continue to play a critical role in supporting vulnerable persons during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those living with non-communicable diseases. The Caribbean Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Childhood Obesity Prevention (COP) Action Team is a growing network of Caribbean-based Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) member CSOs committed to advancing the implementation of nutrition and physical activity policies to tackle the rise in childhood overweight and obesity in the region.

During COVID-19, the Action Team has been working toward implementing local and regional initiatives to support and give voices to persons living with non-communicable diseases (PLWNCDs) in their various countries. Many have been focused on advocating for food security measures and making healthy food more accessible. For example, there have been excellent backyard gardening efforts in The Bahamas and St. Lucia.

The Action Team members inspire one another. The Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association (ABDA) recently organized healthy food donations for persons living with diabetes in Antigua. This initiative was inspired by the Barbados’ Childhood Obesity Coalition’s healthy hampers for PLWNCDs.
Read more

Experiences of the Cancer Society of the Bahamas

The Cancer Society of The Bahamas is committed to the awareness, education, prevention, research, advocacy, care, and cure of cancers and to serve cancer patients, survivors and their families, and persons at risk across The Bahamas.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Cancer Society of The Bahamas has a much greater responsibility to protect not only the clients who are all high risk but also staff members.  The Centre is currently almost full with 9 of the 10 rooms occupied. 

Sanitizing stations have been strategically placed throughout the facility to promote good hygiene. Staff and clients are regularly reminded to sanitize hands frequently and to wear face masks.
Experiences of the Cancer Society of the Bahamas
Experiences of the Cancer Society of the Bahamas
The new mandatory restriction of visitors have been especially difficult for our clients not only because they are from the Family Islands but also because they lose the therapeutic benefit of seeing loved ones.
Read more

Protection Meets Innovation - Innovative Ways to Protect Frontline Workers and Save PPE in the Bahamas

President of The Cancer Society of The Bahamas and consulting surgeon, Dr. Williamson Chea, has continued to use his skills to support his community during the pandemic. In addition to his backyard gardening and distribution of seedlings to members of The Bahamas Cancer Society, Dr. Chea built protective apparatuses for medical facilities in Nassau that test and treat COVID-19 patients. Inspired by images he saw online, Dr. Chea built 6 booths to test patients, 14 intubation hoods, 5 lab machine hoods, and one ENT (ears, nose and throat) procedure hood. (Click/tap the image below to see video of the PPE)
Protection Meets Innovation
The apparatuses protect health care workers and decrease the need for personal protective equipment - plexiglass is used to separate the patient and health care practitioner.
 
The HCC applauds Dr. Chea’s work and others in the public and private sector who continue to meaningfully collaborate for the betterment and protection of healthcare workers, medical facilities and patients. The HCC continues to advocate for this whole of society approach, particularly in protecting those persons living with NCDs during this challenging time.

COVID-19 and the Diabetic Foot in the Region

COVID-19 and the Diabetic Foot in the Region
Simone McConnie: Whilst it is too early to report on the diabetic foot during this COVID 19 pandemic, early signs show two sides of the coin. Some parts of the region are seeing more diabetic foot challenges (increased amputations because people were either scheduled to have critical procedures done and they have been delayed, they had missed appointments for routine foot care to prevent foot problems that were delayed or they were too scared to leave home and kept challenges at home until it was too late). Other parts are seeing less, because people are on their feet less, their wounds have healed better, and their lesions have not returned as quickly requiring routine care.

This is the dynamic of the diabetic foot, no one size fits all, and there are so many underlying conditions that have an impact on this it is definitely too early to say. We will have watch this space to find out the true story but as regional co-chair of D-foot international, its a great time to be reminded that the diabetic foot does not go away in a pandemic. If we take a bird’s eye view across the world with opinions from some of our colleagues who have been in this crisis longer than us, we maybe in the calm before the storm. Coming out of this pandemic there will be a lot of positives that will help us to move forward like a reflection on the importance of working together in teams of all kinds (medical, governments, private sectors etc), being guided by international guidelines, and protocols in order to execute our own. And most of all an appreciation of self, life and the value we all have to each other.
So, Yes stay home, follow your directives by your governments and health ministries, but there is so much you can do to prevent a foot crisis.
Here are some tips you will find useful:
  1. Continue to wear protective footwear in and around the home, remember socks are not protective, the shoe or whatever you choose to cloth your foot with, should be able to stop a pin, a tack, a nail from reaching the skin on the bottom of your feet
  2. Check your feet daily, between the toes, the soles for anything you did not see there the day before
  3. Keep the blood flow moving - stand up or sit down and do some foot dancing, raise your heels off the ground, (up and down until your calves feel weary) or even dance (ensure you do so whilst protecting your feet with your shoes)
  4. Wash your feet and moisturize them, just don’t put the cream between the toes, remember the dry skin on your feet maybe because of your circulation or nerve damage so whether you leave home or not your feet will still be dry and be at risk to develop fissures that can lead to foot problems. Plus, foot cream helps to reduce frictions that cause callouses and corns
Remember most Podiatrist and medical foot care professionals are still working seeing emergencies ONLY so maybe call them, have a telemedical discussion, or send them a foot selfie and there is a lot we can guide you to do at home during this pandemic to prevent foot challenges after.

We still want you to keep your feet while you stay safe.

Simone McConnie is a Podiatrist (Barbados), UK trained specializing in Diabetic foot and Wound care with over 20 years experience in the region. Serves as Regional Co -Chair DFoot International.

Backyard Gardening With The Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Keith Rowley
The Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
Photos:via the Office of the Prime Minister
The Hon. Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, shows off his backyard garden. 

The Prime Minister shared photos of his own backyard garden that he maintains at Official Residence of the Prime Minister in St. Ann’s.

Click/tap the image below to play a video of Dr. Rowley chatting about his backyard garden.
Dr. Rowley
Related media:
Backyard Gardening
Follow HCC’s social media platforms for some helpful tips to get your backyard garden started and let us know what you are doing in your communities!

#HomeGardeningTips #Beatchildhoodobesity #Boostimmunesystem
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COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19
HCC COVID-19 Webpage

Caribbean Island States Need Differentiated Treatment Due to Covid-19. Here’s Why

Caribbean Island States Need Differentiated Treatment Due to Covid-19. Here’s Why
The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Chair of CARICOM (left) and Didier Trebucq, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
CARICOM Today OP-ED: Tourism-dependent, climate-vulnerable states need to respond to the devastation of COVID-19 with a hurricane season around the corner

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are characterised by their exposure to a variety of risks and limited capacity to deal with them when they occur. This is particularly true in the Eastern Caribbean, being especially prone to natural disasters that are up to 6 times more damaging when compared to developed countries.

Now we are bracing up for yet another hurricane season, while dealing with the dramatic impacts of COVID-19.
Read more

COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Diseases

COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Diseases
Photo: Deposit Photos
Jamaica Gleaner: by Dr Andrene Chung is consultant cardiologist, and chair of The Heart Foundation of Jamaica. The dramatic global spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created severe human, social and economic disruption across all continents and devastation of some healthcare systems. This is related not only to the rapid spread and highly transmissible nature of the virus, but also to the serious impacts the disease has on vulnerable populations. While we are still learning about the virus, several leading global health organisations have reiterated that, based on currently available data, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions seem to be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
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Smithsonian Science Education Center With Support of the World Health Organization Launches New COVID-19 Guide for Youth

New COVID-19 Guide for Youth
WHO: The Smithsonian Science Education Center, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) - a partnership of 140 national academies of science, engineering and medicine - has developed “COVID-19! How can I protect myself and others?,” a new rapid-response guide for youth ages 8–17. The guide, which is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, aims to help young people understand the science and social science of COVID-19 as well as help them take actions to keep themselves, their families and communities safe.
Read more

PAHO Survey: Alcohol Use and COVID-19

The Pan American Health Organization is interested in the alcohol consumption patterns of residents of Latin American and Caribbean countries, during the social changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study obtained PAHO regional ethical approval to be implemented in 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative is being carried out in partnership with the Department of Preventive Medicine at Universidade Federal de São Paulo and the PAHO / WHO Collaborating Center in Canada (Center for Addiction and Mental Health). The questionnaire takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous and confidential.

We encourage you to participate and disseminate the link below to your contacts, by email, Facebook, WhatsApp or other social media.

The results will be disseminated in the form of reports and scientific papers, with country profiles and comparisons between countries, whenever possible.
Take the Survey

The Asymptomatic Carrier Meets the Asymptomatic Killer

The Asymptomatic Carrier Meets the Asymptomatic Killer
President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB), Dr. Kenneth Connell
The Barbados Advocate: There is a lot to be learned from the current COVID-19 pandemic. So says President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB), Dr. Kenneth Connell, in his address for World Hypertension Day 2020. With the international day celebrated this past Sunday, Dr. Connell called on the public health system and members of the public to be more vigilant as they treat to both conditions in a statement released titled “The Asymptomatic Carrier Meets the Asymptomatic Killer”.
Read more
COVID-19 Hangouts
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The 4th World Obesity Live Webinar: Emerging Insights and Policy Implications

World Obesity Live Webinar
29th May at 13:00 BST

Evidence continues to emerge that suggests that obesity and obesity-related conditions worsen the effects of COVID-19, with data highlighting a high proportion of ICU patients also being affected by obesity. Furthermore, many co-morbidities of obesity including diabetes and heart disease have been shown to increase the risk of COVID-19 complications, putting increased strain on health systems. 
Register
Thank the COVID-19 Frontline workers

CARPHA and IMPACS Joint Statement: Solidarity in Action - Health and Security Working to Protect Front-line Workers in COVID-19 Response

CARPHA and IMPACS
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) both members of the CARICOM Security Cluster; as part of the coordinated regional response to COVID-19 recently delivered a virtual training session for front-line security officers on measures to protect themselves in the line of duty.
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Stay Active

Food Sovereignty During Covid-19 and Beyond

Food Sovereignty During Covid-19 and Beyond
Photo: Barbados Today
Barbados Today: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Governments and people all over the world to rethink all aspects of their lives, many of which they might have taken for granted before or which seemed to proceed without a real sense of direction.
Read more

$1b Available for Agriculture Programme to Assist Small Farmers - Shaw

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw
Jamaica Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw
Photo: JIS
Loop Jamaica: Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, says an additional $1billion has been allocated to the Ministry’s Productivity Incentive Programme (PIP) to assist small farmers in light of challenges being experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Read more
CARICOM Food Security: Missed Opportunities
Photo: CARICOM

CARICOM Food Security: Missed Opportunities

CARICOM Today: In this health and economic crisis, persons are highlighting the need to implement the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the importance of food security. As we all know, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been on the road to regional integration, including devising and implementing a community agricultural policy, for forty-seven (47) years. Both remain ambitious goals.
Read more
Aquaculture: A Solution for Food Security
Photo: Roger Jacob

Aquaculture: A Solution for Food Security

TT Newsday: Food security, like many other social issues, has been a key issue for discussion as governments around the world grapple with the management of the covid19 pandemic. In TT’s agriculture sector, there have been challenges that vary from funding to policy implementation to legislation. But as the sector seeks success, one sub-sector has captured the eyes of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and by extension, entrepreneurs. Read more
Food Security Related Media
COVID-19 Recent Research:

News

World No Tobacco Day 31 May, 2020

World No Tobacco Day 31 May, 2020
Image: WHO
#TobaccoExposed

The global campaign will debunk myths and expose devious tactics employed by these industries. It will provide young people with the knowledge required to easily detect industry manipulation and equip them with the tools to rebuff such tactics, thereby empowering young people to stand up against them. This is especially important right now as studies show that smokers have a higher risk for a severe case of coronavirus. WHO calls on all young people to join the fight to become a tobacco-free generation.
Read more

OAS Scholarship Opportunity

OAS Scholarship Opportunity
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Climate Change Is Fuelling Extreme Weather That Lowers Cancer Survival Rate and Threatens Prevention

Climate Change Is Fuelling Extreme Weather That Lowers Cancer Survival Rate and Threatens Prevention
Image: Getty Images
CNBC: Climate change is hindering progress on cancer prevention and increasing people’s exposure to deadly carcinogens, according to a new report from scientists at the American Cancer Society and Harvard University. 

Hotter temperatures worldwide have fuelled more frequent weather disasters like hurricanes and wildfires that release vast amounts of carcinogens into communities and delay access to cancer treatment. 

“The prospects for further progress in cancer prevention and control in this century are bright but face an easily overlooked threat from climate change,” scientists wrote in a new report in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Read more

Exposure to TV Alcohol Ads Linked to Drinking Behaviour

Exposure to TV Alcohol Ads Linked to Drinking Behaviour
Photo: Pixabay
Cornell Chronicle: The Most Interesting Man in the World preferred Dos Equis, James Bond promoted Heineken and a rescue dog fetched Bud Light for partygoers.

Aired in 2012, those were just a few of the nearly 600 televised commercials for alcohol products - mostly beer - that the average American adult was exposed to that year, according to new Cornell research.
Read more

WHO Receives First-ever Donation of Insulin

WHO Receives First-ever Donation of Insulin
Photo: WHO
WHO: Fifty low- and middle-income countries are soon to receive insulin for people with diabetes, thanks to a donation by global health-care company, Novo Nordisk. The donation, of insulin and glucagon[1], to the value of US$ 1.3 million, comes at a time when many people with noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes are facing challenges with access to life-saving treatment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Read more

Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development 2020 Evidence to Policy Fellowship Program

Deadline: June 5, 2020
The University of the West Indies, Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development (CCHSRD) is offering early and mid-career researchers and policymakers the opportunity to enhance their professional development by participating in an Evidence to Policy Fellowship Program. The program will consist of five (5) days training in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago and coaching and mentorship over a period of three (3) months. Successful applicants must participate in the mandatory training at the CCHSRD in Trinidad and Tobago.
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NCD Academy

NCD Academy
Led by the American College of Cardiology, in collaboration with the World Heart Federation and NCD Alliance, and supported by Pfizer Upjohn, the NCD Academy, a first of its kind partnership to equip providers at the front lines of patient care  - including clinicians, nurses, and community health workers -  with education available whenever, wherever, and at no cost.

NCD Academy will premiere with a course in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke prevention, already available via desktop and as an app on Apple Store and Google Play. With an integrated NCD approach, courses from other leading societies in clinical education will follow soon.
Read more

APHA Physical Activity Twitter Conference

APHA Physical Activity Twitter Conference
Abstract submissions for the 2020 Physical Activity Twitter Conference will be accepted until June 16, 2020 @ 11:59 P.M. (PST).
Read more

NCD Alliance Newsletter

NCD Alliance
  • World No Tobacco Day exposes industry tactics to target youth
  • #HealthyRecovery campaign calls for resilient systems
  • WHA73 Resolution highlights NCDs in COVID-19 response
  • Ghana NCD Alliance embarks on COVID-19 and NCDs training
  • NCDA Peer Learning Advocacy Network on prevention launched
  • FIND seeks industry partner for diabetes supplies
  • Survey: Understanding health workers challenges 
Read more

Our Work

Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean

Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean
Our 'Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean' infographics are now available as a package, the package includes the full size infographic, a web-booklet version, a full colour printable version, reduced colour version for in house printing and three social media visuals which are shown below.
Read more

Chilean Policies Effectively Tackling Obesity

Lessons for the Caribbean
Chilean Policies Effectively Tackling Obesity
Read more

Childhood Obesity Prevention Visuals

A set of infographics, highlighting childhood obesity, the risks and the HCC policy asks.
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Read more
Social media graphics to campaign for the implementation of our Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies
Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
Read more

HCC Technical Brief and Eight Advocacy Priorities

HCC Technical Brief:
HCC Technical Brief: First United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage: Technical Brief for CARICOM Countries - A Contribution from Civil Society.
Read download
HCC Advocacy Priorities
HCC Advocacy Priorities for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.
Read/download
MHCS
Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard

Key Messages From Our Publications

Call to Urgent Action
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Our Publications
No Marketing to Children
No marketing of unhealthy foods to children
HCC has created a series of  visuals to advocate for front of package nutrition warning labels and to also to campaign against the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. Find out more information here.
Read more
CARD 2019: Women and Alcohol
CARD 2019: Women and Alcohol
A set of infographics
Read more
Call to Urgent Action
Call to Urgent Action - Infographics and Social Media Visuals
Read more
See All HCC Publications
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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 hcc@healthycaribbean.org
The work of HCC would not be possible without core funding from Sagicor Life Inc
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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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