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September 28th


Sir George Alleyne - NCDs and COVID-19 - Reciprocal Burdens

Sir George Alleyne - NCDs and COVID-19 - Reciprocal Burdens
Sir George Alleyne, pictured at the Caribbean NCD Forum in Jamaica, 2018
Photo: Oristocratz Studio
Blog from HCC Patron and Director Emeritus of PAHO, Sir George Alleyne.

“Burden - a load - a typically heavy load”

I participated recently in a panel that dealt with the double burden of NCDs and Covid-19 and one interpretation was that both diseases individually represented a load-a heavy load for society. There is no doubt that each separately and individually represents a heavy burden. But on subsequent reflection, I wondered if it was not more appropriate to consider the reciprocal impact of the two problems one upon the other and vice versa. This reciprocity is not sequential but simultaneous. 

There are numerous reports that persons with NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory illnesses as well as obesity have a poor outcome when infected with Covid 19. Mental health issues are not to be ignored as depression and suicide have been reported during or post Covid-19. Conversely, there are now very good data that NCD services and by extension patients with NCDs suffer because of Covid-19. Health and financial resources are deviated from attending to NCDs and directed towards addressing the pandemic. The data from WHO show that three quarters of countries surveyed showed considerable disruption to NCD services.
This interaction is unique in a temporal sense – all pandemics are time-limited so this interaction will dissolve. The challenge is to make use of this unique experience to address the future pandemics that will inevitably arise and from an NCD perspective ensure that they and their attendant comorbidities do not present the same threat again. It is not often appreciated that the current demographic situation is such that unless corrective prevention steps are taken NCDs will again compromise health outcomes in future pandemics. The association between NCDs and viral pandemics is not new. The NCDs and particularly obesity increase the risk of being hospitalized and dying from influenza virus infections. In the SARS and MERS epidemics – both caused by Corona viruses, comorbidities especially from NCDs also contributed to adverse outcomes. 
Read more
HCC Communication Consultant

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) is looking for a communication consultant with campaign experience to support our food policy work.  

The Communication Consultant will help to develop integrated communication strategies aligned with campaign themes, with an emphasis on media relations, digital communications, stakeholder engagement and strategic advertising. This person will work closely with the HCC team, global and regional partners on campaign planning, message development, announcement strategy, social media campaigns, digital marketing and event strategy.

Ideally the successful candidate would be based in Barbados or Jamaica however candidates located outside of these countries, but within CARICOM, will be considered on a case by case basis.

To apply for this position, please email a cover letter and attach your resume/CV to:, by Wednesday September 30th, 2020. Read the full requirements of the role here.
If you would like to respond to, or comment on any of the articles featured in our weekly news roundup please email

Back to School During COVID Times

Webinar Recording: Re-Opening Schools: Shared Perspectives on Navigating Mental Health During COVID-19

Click/tap to play
The fifth webinar of our special COVID-19 and NCDs in the Caribbean series: ‘Re-opening Schools: Shared perspectives on navigating mental health during COVID-19 in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), was held on September 25th, 2020 it focused on the major mental health concerns of key actors, namely, students, teachers and parents as a new school year, comprising of both in-person and virtual classes, begins across the region. These key actors along with epidemiological and mental health experts shared perspectives on strategies that can be used to support positive mental health wellbeing in this new school setting. Almost 300 participants took part in this very informative webinar. 
Webinar Recording: Re-Opening Schools: Shared Perspectives on Navigating Mental Health During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed schooling as we know it – largely shutting down traditional face to face education and forcing children, teachers and parents to struggle with an entirely new world of virtual learning. Significant uncertainty still looms as educational institutions across the Caribbean prepare for the 20/21 academic year.

We are already beginning to see the negative mental health impacts of the pandemic on students and teachers in the school community. Guidance counselors designated to provide in-school support may be ill-equipped to handle the anticipated rise in mental health issues experienced by children.  Parents and caregivers have been highlighted as key actors in this new school system serving their role as a parent while also navigating virtual learning / homeschooling and providing holistic support for their children during this time. 

All of these challenges are further exacerbated for children living with disabilities who very often require face to face, hands on support from highly trained professionals.  The loss of this specialized care is having devastating emotional impacts on the children, families and their teachers. 

This is a new and challenging space for many, and discussions that highlight concerns and guide strategies that will support positive mental health and wellbeing are critical.
Read more
Danielle Walwyn, HCC Advocacy Officer leads the fitness break during the webinar (click/tap to play)
Related Media:
Supporting your child’s mental health as they return to school during COVID-19
Photo: UNICEF/UNI330896/Frank Dejongh
Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health As They Return to School During COVID-19
UNICEF: The coronavirus outbreak has caused major disruptions to daily life and children are feeling these changes deeply. While the return to school will be not only welcome but exciting for many students, others will be feeling anxious or frightened. Here are tips to help your children navigate some of the complicated emotions they may be facing with going back to school.
Read more
Kids may face mental health issues as school begins amid pandemic: Questions with Archana Basu
Kids May Face Mental Health Issues As School Begins Amid Pandemic: Questions With Archana Basu
Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health: Archana Basu, research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and a clinical psychologist and instructor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, discusses the mental health challenges facing children as they begin a new school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
Video: Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Education, Science & Technology Parenting 101 Series - Back to School During COVID
Schools re-opening and what parents should know.
Read more
Video: UNICEF and the Government of the Virgin Islands on Back-to-School
While some students in the Caribbean have been returning to school, thousands continue to stay at home due to the pandemic. 
Read more
Campaign: Stop Coronavirus at School Today
Campaign: Stop Coronavirus at School Today
UNESCO: In line with the UNESCO/ the World Bank/UNICEF/the World Food Programme Framework for reopening schools, UNESCO's Cluster Office in the Caribbean has developed a video on Safe return to school in the Caribbean with the title "Joanne and Daniel Lead the Way - Stop Coronavirus at School Today!". 
Read more
Strategy and perspectives for the reopening of schools
Webinar: Strategy and Perspectives for the Reopening of Schools in the Caribbean Subregion
OREALC/UNESCO: It is important to prepare countries for challenges resulting from the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 and prolonged social isolation, on both the education system and on the school community. Watch here
Info Pack: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
Info Pack: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: A Multisectoral Approach in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
UNICEF: Psychosocial and mental health impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children, adolescents and their families are significant. Although mental health and psychosocial support interventions are articulated through the general health and child protection services; Schools, as platforms that integrate intersectoral efforts, can also provide this critical support. Therefore, it is important to identify innovative strategies that can be implemented remotely and that offer guidance to families and teachers for the development of emotional and social skills that promote physical and psychological well-being from home, through the adoption of healthy practices and lifestyles. Read more
UNICEF Offering Virtual Mental Health and Psychosocial Sessions
UNICEF Offering Virtual Mental Health and Psychosocial Sessions Across the Eastern Caribbean
UNICEF: The virtual platform is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and organised by UNICEF and its partners, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean State (OECS).  It is being run by Eutelmed, an independent and multicultural network of international healthcare professionals providing telemedicine. It has been helping international organisations, NGOs and companies in over 50 languages and cultures on implementing well-being at work and crisis management programmes. The Eastern Caribbean programme is being offered in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.
Read more
PAHO Stronger Together Campaign
PAHO Stronger Together Campaign
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) launched a Caribbean communication campaign to promote mental wellbeing and positive coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 hurricane season. The campaign aims to reduce the stigma about seeking mental health and psychosocial support and convey the basic principles of Psychological First Aid (PFA). PFA is a way of helping people to feel calm and able to cope in a difficult situation.

Access the campaign materials here and download the PFA booklet here.

COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 in the Caribbean: Public Health Challenges and Innovations With Chelsea Clinton

Click/tap to play
Clinton Foundation: On Thursday 24 September, Dr St John, Executive Director of CARPHA, joined other speakers in a webinar hosted by Chelsea Clinton, to identify the best practices for managing COVID-19 in the Caribbean and showcase the innovations that are promoting a safe and disciplined public health response.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges for health care providers and public health officials in the Caribbean in providing accessible, safe, and inclusive health care. Existing access gaps have been exacerbated due to lockdowns and fears of contracting the virus are prompting the need for new approaches to administering basic health care services while providing critically needed mental health support. At the same time, Caribbean public health officials and practitioners are preparing for an emerging second wave of COVID-19 cases by doubling down on proven solutions to provide health care while pioneering new and innovative technologies to reach patients across the Caribbean.
Watch the Recording
COVID-19 Comms Resources
HCC COVID-19 Webpage
Backyard Gardening
Brain Breaks
Caribbean Health Heroes
Stay Active

Webinar: Considerations in the Management CVD and Cancer in the Era of COVID-19

Considerations in the Management CVD and Cancer in the Era of COVID-19

Specialized Course on Food Security at the Time of COVID-19

(26 - 30 October 2020)
Specialized Course on Food Security at the Time of COVID-19
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in cooperation with John Cabot University (JCU), is organizing the second edition of the Specialized Course on Food and Nutrition Security at the time of COVID-19, which will be delivered online, from 26 to 30 October 2020.

The Specialized Course will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of main determinants and issues connected to food security, among which:
  • Towards the multidimensional definition of food security
  • The UN strategy for Goal 2 “Zero Hunger” (SDGs)
  • Legal tools on right to food, food safety and security
  • Pandemic outbreaks and impact on food safety and security 
  • COVID-19, conflicts, migration and food insecurity
  • Food industry and food fraud: counterfeiting and adulteration 
  • Migration and food insecurity
  • Innovation for the future: blockchain for Zero Hunger
Read more


World Heart Day September 29, 2020
World Heart Day September 29, 2020
Animation: WHF
WHF: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death on the planet. It has many causes: from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to air pollution, and rare and neglected conditions such as Chagas Disease and cardiac amyloidosis.

In the time of COVID-19, CVD patients are faced with a double-edged threat. Not only are they more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus, but they may also be afraid to seek ongoing care for their hearts.
Read more
Please let us know of any events taking place to support World Heart Day 2020
Wear Red
World Heart Day
World Heart Day
HSFB World Heart Day

Ministers of Health of the Americas Will Meet Virtually in PAHO’s Directing Council to Address Health Priorities

Ministers of Health of the Americas Will Meet Virtually
Photo: PAHO
PAHO: Health authorities will discuss the region's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges on Sept.28-29. Colombia's President Ivan Duque and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley are among the officials scheduled to open the virtual event.   

Washington, D.C., 25 September 2020 (PAHO/WHO) -  Ministers of Health and other senior authorities from countries and territories will meet virtually from September 28-29, 2020 to address the critical health challenges facing the Region of the Americas with the COVID-19 pandemic, at the 58th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 
Read more

Community Burden of Stroke Increasing as Cases Rise and Death’s Remain Unchanged

Community Burden of Stroke Increasing as Cases Rise and Death’s Remain Unchanged
Barbados National Registry (BNR): The fight to make NCDs a national priority is on-going, while at the community level the burden is increasing. The Barbados National Registry’s 2017 – 2018 Cardiovascular Disease Report indicates that between 2010 and 2018, the number of stroke cases increased by about 15%. Although, strokes cases are increasing, deaths due to stroke remain the unchanged. A reduction in the number of deaths, related to strokes, is an important indicator that our health care for this ailment is improving.

The increase in stroke cases is however concerning as the after effects of a stroke, can and will result in more Barbadians living with disabilities. In men, most stroke cases are occurring at relatively young ages (55-74 years). Many of the patients who were diagnosed with having suffered from a stroke, also suffer from at least one comorbidity, with the most common ones being; hypertension and/or diabetes. 

The increasing cases and associated comorbidities, highlight the need for us to emphasise primary prevention methods and risk factor reduction to decrease the disability from strokes in our community.  

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an additional dimension to this burden. Data provided from the World Health Organisation indicates that the period of in-country lockdowns resulted in a 20% reduction of cardiovascular services, in the Caribbean territories.
Data provided from the World Health Organisation
In the midst of the pandemic we must maintain a strong primary care service, while, emphasising the need for greater community involvement and self-care, for chronic diseases, as we aim to emerge from this crisis healthier and stronger.
Download the Report

SickKids and Scotiabank Working to Help Children Fight Cancer

SickKids and Scotiabank Working to Help Children Fight Cancer
SCI members at the annual work planning meeting in Toronto in 2018
Photo: Loop News website
The SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), funded in part by Scotiabank, continues to improve access to health services for children in six Caribbean countries who are diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders.

As telemedicine partner and key supporter of the programme for many years, Scotiabank has seen first-hand the importance of the programme, which connects health-care professionals in six countries in the Caribbean with specialists at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada, in order to provide lifesaving treatment for their young patients.
Read more
Related Media:

IDB Supports Jamaica’s Prevention and Management of NCDs Programme

Therese Turner-Jones
Therese Turner-Jones, IDB Jamaica Country Representative and General Manager for the Caribbean Country Group
Photo: Loop News
Loop News: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a programmatic policy-based loan of $100 million to support the strengthening of Jamaica’s health systems to better prevent and manage the care of non-communicable diseases.

The main objective of this programme is to contribute to the improvement of the health of Jamaica’s population by bolstering comprehensive policies for the reduction of Non-Communicable (Chronic) Diseases (NCDs) risk factors. 
Read more
Related Media:

Tobacco Responsible for 20% of Deaths From Coronary Heart Disease

Tobacco Responsible for 20% of Deaths From Coronary Heart Disease
Photo: WHO
WHO: Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released today by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September.

This equates to one in five of all deaths from heart disease, warn the report’s authors, who urge all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers  are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.
Read more

Looking Back at Another Year of Progress for Voices for Healthy Kids

Looking Back at Another Year of Progress for Voices for Healthy Kids
Photo: Getty Images
American Heart Association: At the American Heart Association, we embrace our mission as a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We also recognize that good health habits begin at home. To that end, Voices for Healthy Kids - our collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - makes it easier and more enticing for children to eat healthy, drink smart and move more.
Read more

New Study Reviews Cost-Effectiveness of Hypertension Management in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

New Study Reviews Cost-Effectiveness of Hypertension Management in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Photo: Pixabay
Resolve to Save Lives: Comprehensive review from Resolve to Save Lives and partners finds most hypertension interventions are cost-effective 21 September 2020.

New York: Controlling high blood pressure is an effective way to prevent heart disease and save lives, but in many low- and middle-income countries, cost is a barrier to hypertension treatment programs. In a new study published in BMJ Global Health, experts from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, RTI International and Johns Hopkins University reviewed economic evaluations of hypertension treatment strategies, concluding that significant evidence proves hypertension control interventions are a cost-effective way to prevent premature cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries.

“Too many people in the world are living with hypertension that remains undiagnosed, untreated, and uncontrolled,” said Dr. Andrew Moran, Director of Global Hypertension Programs at Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “This review found that hypertension control is generally a high value investment in better health in the low- and middle-income countries where most people with hypertension live.”
Read more

Launch of 3rd Round of LINKS One-time Grants

Launch of 3rd Round of LINKS One-time Grants
Resolve to Save Lives has announced the launch of the 3rd round of LINKS one-time grants for applications on the following three areas, hypertension control, sodium reduction and trans fat elimination, as well as on projects on CVD and COVID-19 rapid response applications.
Grants aim to catalyse the creation of programmes to prevent CVD with a maximum amount of $200,000 USD for hypertension control programmes and $125,000 USD for nutrition programmes, and the deadline to apply is 15 November 2020.
Grants for CVD and COVID-19 rapid responses can range from $10,000-$50,000 USD, and the deadline to apply is 31 December 2020
Read more

Regional Call for Proposals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Generating and Mobilizing Innovative Knowledge for Regional Education Challenges

Regional Call for Proposals in Latin America and the Caribbean
IDRC/CRDI: This call is open to individual Southern organizations or consortia of up to three organizations based in the region. The applicant organization/lead institution must have legal corporate registration and the capacity to administer foreign funds.
Read more
If you would like to respond to, or comment on any of the articles featured in our weekly news roundup please email

NCD Alliance Newsletter

NCD Alliance
  • Join us tomorrow for a virtual dialogue on social impact models in the COVID-19 era
  • UNGA Omnibus Resolution calls for a holistic COVID-19 response
  • Building forward better: Register for NCDA's roundtable on investment for NCDs
  • Have your say in a global consultation of PLWNCDs
  • Use ❤️ to beat 💔. Support #WorldHeartDay on 29 Sept.
  • India NCD alliance calls for robust action on COVID-19
  • New report on dementia related design: #WorldAlzDay
Read more

Key Messages From Our Publications

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Our Work

Front of Package Nutrition Warning Labels

Front of Package Labelling
Front of Package Nutrition Warning Labels help you make healthier choices.

Unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality than tobacco use, alcohol use and unsafe sex combined. The Caribbean has some of the highest levels of obesity and obesity related non communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes in the world. 
Read more
Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard

Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean

Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean
Social media graphics to campaign for the implementation of our Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies
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.
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Childhood Obesity Prevention Visuals

A set of infographics, highlighting childhood obesity, the risks and the HCC policy asks.
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Childhood Obesity Prevention
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Our Publications
Rapid Assessment of the School Nutrition Policy Environment: In Select Caribbean Countries
Rapid Assessment of the School Nutrition Policy Environment: In Select Caribbean Countries
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Accelerating Nutrition Policies in the Caribbean - Meeting Report
Accelerating Nutrition Policies in the Caribbean - Meeting Report
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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
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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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