The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

November 18th - November 24th 2016


HCC Open Letter

To Hon. Freundel Stuart Prime Minister of Barbados 

Congratulations on 'Standing Up" to the Beverage Industry

The members of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, write to congratulate you on the leadership demonstrated your administration in resisting the efforts of the beverage industry to negatively influence your government’s decision to tax sugar sweetened beverages in Barbados.

Prime Minister, the HCC commends your courage, transparency and integrity and we urge Heads of Government throughout the region to follow your example and resist any such pressure as you seek to implement policies such as the SSB tax in order to protect the health of our peoples. We look forward to supporting bold leadership in the region in the form of implementation of SSB taxation of at least 20% and the adoption of comprehensive suite of policies and legislative action aimed at creating enabling environments that allow people of the Caribbean to pursue healthy sustainable diets.

Click here to read the full letter.
Extract from an article in the Barbados Advocate dated October 7 2015 and entitled 'CNCDs challenge being tackled directly'

Prime Minister Stuart said "When we imposed the tax on sweet drinks, it was such a shock to those who export sweet drinks to Barbados and who have taken over the tastes and the palates of our people; that a whole delegation flew into Barbados from the United States of America."

"The delegation was lead by a former Governor of a State in the United States wanting to meet with me and wanting to meet with the Minister of Health and so on, to try to convince us that we should remove the tax."

"They tried to tell us that if we were good enough to remove th etax, they would help us in other ways with this whole issue of chronic non-communicable diseases."

"We said thanks but no thanks"
Read the HCC Brief: A Closer Look, the Implementation of Taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages by the Government of Barbados here

The HCC 'Sugar in the Caribbean' can be found here.

Capacity and Information Needs Assessment of Healthy Caribbean Coalition Civil Society Organisation Members Working in the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases

The Report provides a detailed assessment of the capacity needs of HCC CSO members working in health with a focus on NCDs, and highlights areas for capacity development, collaboration, and resource mobilisation; and identifies the public health NCD information needs and priorities of CSOs in the Caribbean.  
CSO Mapping Report
The findings of the assessment will among other things, be used to: build capacity among the Caribbean CSOS based on identified capacity and information gaps making them fit for purpose and better positioned to contribute to the multisectoral approach to NCD prevention and control; and strengthen CSO health information systems to inform better decision making around service delivery and advocacy efforts.
The assessment was undertaken in partnership with the NCD Alliance, Medtronic Philanthropy, and the United Kingdom Health Forum (UKHF).  

To see the full report is click here

Excessive Consumption Of Alcohol A Concern In The BVI

The Ministry of Health and Social Development of the British Virgin Islands joins the Healthy Caribbean Coalition in raising awareness of the harmful abuse of alcohol.

The Coalition has declared today, November 18 as Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day and its being observed under the theme 'Misuse of Alcohol is a Bigger Problem than You Think'. The purpose of the day is to sensitise the people of the Caribbean to the harmful effects of the abuse of alcohol, and to encourage them to drink less and live better.

In a message issued by Healthy Caribbean Coalition, “Excessive drinking of alcohol is a major health risk occurring particularly increasingly among the youth. Alcohol is one of the four risk factors contributing to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.” Read more
HCC Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day
Alcohol on th eregional NCD agenda
Alcohol Policies in the Caribbean

WHO Noncommunicable Disease Document Repository

Noncommunicable Disease Document Repository
The World Health Organization Global Noncommunicable Disease Document Repository has been launched.
This repository provides access to over 1,300 technical documents containing relevant information on NCDs, including examples of country's national NCD plans, risk factor policies and NCD guidelines. These documents were submitted by Member States to WHO in response  to the 2015 NCD Country Capacity Survey, and are being made publicly available as a resource for strengthening NCD policies and programs. The NCD document repository is available here

COP7 Concludes in Delhi

COP7 in Delhi
The seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) concluded and several significant decisions were adopted. COP7 reviewed the implementation of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control and the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. COP7 brought together representatives from the 180 Member States party to the convention, together with civil society, to discuss challenges, successes, and the way forward in strengthening the global fight against tobacco use.
During an intense week of discussions delegates addressed the longest agenda of any COP, indicating the enthusiasm of Parties and the growing role of tobacco control within areas of development and human rights, as well as public health. Read more

Walk Together to Fight Cancer 

'Walk together to fight cancer' a video From our partners in Haiti Groupe de Support Contre le Cancer (GSCC)

Increase Sweet Drinks Tax

Barbados Nation Sunday Sun - Government should increase the tax on sweetened drinks, an activist has said. Following reports that the ten per cent imposition has been unsuccessful in curbing usage, the chief executive officer of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados, Gina Pitts, is calling for firmer strategies to be explored to reduce sweet drinks sales. 
Gina Pitts CEO Heart & Stroke FOundation of Barbados
Pitts shared the sentiment of Professor Emeritus Sir Henry Fraser, who suggested that a levy of no less than 30 per cent be imposed on sugar beverages. 

"We would have to increase the tax to a realistic point where it starts to become prohibitive. But not just the [soft drinks] but anything with an excessive amount of sugar like the sports drinks," she said. Read more

Some Seeking a Health Alternative

Barbados Nation Sunday Sun - Some Barbadians are no longer craving a sugar rush frorn sweetened drinks. It appears that the hype over soft drinks has fizzled out for some members of the public, who said they have been quenching their thirst with healthier alternatives so as to avoid the onset of chronic diseases. Minister of Health John Boyce recently said that a tax which was aimed at reducing consumption did not seem to have the expected impact, and that the ministry, was currently assessing the programme to determine its effectiveness. Read more

Barbados Sugar Tax - by 'Research and Some Sense' 

Sugar Sweetened Beverages produced by 'Research and Some Sense' 

JCTC Very Concerned About New Cigarette Manufacturing Companies Setting Up in Jamaica

The JCTC is very concerned about news reaching Jamaican citizens that two companies are launching cigarettes in the Jamaican market and one company will be growing tobacco for local manufacture of cigarettes. These companies have utilised special provisions under the Free Zone Act.
We find this to be a disturbing development especially since with support of civil society and international partners, we were able to stop the plans for increased tobacco production in 2011. Articles 15-17 of the FCTC speaks specifically to provision of support for economically viable alternatives for farmers growing tobacco.

Given the health and economic effects of tobacco use and production, the JCTC is calling on the Jamaican Government to review carefully the plans for increased tobacco production and the receipt of any special incentives by these companies through the Free Zone Act.
We would also like to remind the Government about Article 5.3 of the FCTC which stipulates how Governments and its employees should interact with tobacco companies and make a repeated call for Jamaica to continue to implement Articles of the FCTC via comprehensive tobacco legislation.

Press coverage

World Diabetes Day Across the Region

Eyes on Diabetes 

Trudy Griffith
Taken from the POS Declaration Evaluation website.

Trudy Griffith, Interim First Vice President of the Diabetes Association of Barbados November 14 is observed as World Diabetes Day. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2015 some 415 million people across the world were reported to be living with diabetes. It is having a devastating impact on the Caribbean, which has double the global rate of the disease.
Read more

Living with diabetes: “Education is the key”

Florence Bissett-Goddard
Taken from the POS Declaration Evaluation website.

Florence Bissett-Goddard has been living with diabetes for around 25 years. She is a volunteer at the Diabetes Association of Barbados. When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, about six months after my last child was born, I didn’t  have much of a reaction, it wasn’t a condition I was too aware of. Actually, I was in denial for number of years as I didn’t realise how serious it was. Read more

Central Health Grenada

Central Health-Grenada
At a church service held on Sunday November 13, Vice President of the Grenada Diabetes Association Dr. Antoine implored members of the Westerhall New Testament Church to take diabetes seriously, “There are a lot of complications that arise out of diabetes. It affects the eyes, the kidneys, the blood vessels, it affects the heart and some persons have amputations.  And so, it is a very destructive disease and it kills a lot of people. So we want everyone’s eyes to be focused on it. Not only today and tomorrow, but throughout. Those who have not been focusing on it can start, especially those who are at risk.” Read more

Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment in collaboration with the SVG Diabetes and Hypertension Association

To mark the day, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment in collaboration with the SVG Diabetes and Hypertension Association, held a “views on issues” call-in radio programme, on Sunday 13th November, 2016.  The topic for discussion was “Eyes on Diabetes”.  Then on Monday November 14th, 2016, a symposium was held at the conference room of the Fisheries Complex in Kingstown from 9am – 3 pm. Over 30 persons were present.  Participants included diabetics, family members, health care providers and medical practitioners. Read more

NCD FREE - Small steps. Huge gains. 

NCD FREE Small Steps
Catching up on a huge week in global health is as easy as 1-2-3
  1. WATCH: Dr Phil Baker's TEDx talk on the 'Politics of food: who influences what we eat?'
  2. READ: Three important wins for addressing obesity by Dr Alessandro Demaio.
  3. DIGEST: The Grattan Institute's NEW report 'A sugary drinks tax: recovering the community cost of obesity.'

Breastfeeding a Matter of Human Rights, Say UN Experts

United Nations Human Rights
GENEVA (22 November 2016) – Breastfeeding is a human rights issue for babies and mothers and should be protected and promoted for the benefit of both, a group of United Nations experts says in a statement* made public today.

States should take urgent action to stop the “misleading, aggressive and inappropriate” marketing of breast-milk substitutes in a multi-billion-dollar global industry, say the UN Special Rapporteurs on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, and on the right to food, Hilal Elver, together with the Working Group on discrimination against women, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Read more

Read the joint statement by the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food, Right to Health, the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in law and in practice, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child in support of increased efforts to promote, support and protect breast-feeding here.

The 2017 NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention is Currently Accepting Applications

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) hosts the “NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention” every year in Rockville, Maryland. The Curriculum provides scientists and health care professionals training on cancer control, prevention and research. The Principles and Practice of Cancer Control Course, to be held July 10th – August 4th, 2017, focuses on concepts, methods, issues, and applications related to cancer prevention and control. The Molecular Prevention Course, to be held August 7th– August 11th, 2017, provides a strong background in the molecular biology and genetics of cancer and an overview of basic laboratory approaches applied to cutting-edge research in the fields of molecular epidemiology, chemoprevention, biomarkers, and translational research.
The application deadline is February 15th, 2017. A limited amount of financial support may be available for selected meritorious applications. Please visit the Summer Curriculum website for the application and further information here.

Worldwide Trends in Blood Pressure from 1975 to 2015

A pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement studies with 19·1 million participants. 

During the past four decades, the highest worldwide blood pressure levels have shifted from high-income countries to low-income countries in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa due to opposite trends, while blood pressure has been persistently high in central and eastern Europe. Read the full report here.

The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change

The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change is an international, multidisciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions and practitioners across the world. It follows on from the work of the 2015 Lancet Commission, which concluded that the response to climate change could be “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century”. The Lancet Countdown aims to track the health impacts of climate hazards; health resilience and adaptation; health co-benefits of climate change mitigation; economics and finance; and political and broader engagement. Read more

Exploring Community-based Social Innovations (CBSIs) for Healthy Ageing

Community-based social innovations (CBSIs) are initiatives that seek to empower older people to improve self-efficacy in caring for themselves and their peers, maintain wellbeing and promote social cohesion and inclusiveness.
While they have the potential to improve care and autonomy for older people, as well as transform healthcare systems, more evidence is needed on CBSIs to improve our understanding of best practices and service delivery models that engage communities and span a spectrum of health and social services.
Do you know of a relevant CBSI? WKC and RAND Europe invite all interested parties to suggest case study sites on CBSIs that support older people in MICs. Read the Expression of Interest documentation. You may suggest a case study via the PDF or our online form below. The deadline for submissions is 31 December 2016.

SDG Indicator 3.8.2 Refinement Agreed

SDG 3 Good Health and Well Being
On 14-18 November 2016, The IAEG-SDGs members met in Geneva and agreed to revise the wording and definition of the 3.8.2 indicator to "Proportion of population with large household expenditures on heath as a share of total household expenditure or income". 

This final refinement proposal will be submitted to the 48th UN Statistical Commission in March 2017 for the formal approval. Read more
This decision is an outcome of hard work by development agencies, civil society organisations and researchers who have advocated strongly for this change. 

5th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research

Call for Poster Abstracts – Deadline: December 2, 2016
The 5th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), and academic partners, will be held on April 6, 2017, prior to the start of the 8th Annual CUGH Global Health Conference.

Presentation of cutting-edge research and programs that address the global burden of cancer is at the heart of the Symposium. NCI invites all persons wishing to report original research, innovative projects, or novel programs related to global cancer research and control to submit abstracts to be considered for posters and publication in the Journal of Global Oncology (JGO).

Abstracts will be collected through two categories:
  • Scientific – original research
  • Program – innovative projects that move the field forward
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
Maybe a piece of plaster?
The bajan saying goes "a piece of plaster for every sore..."

25 Years From Now 2041...
Heart & Stroke Foundation brought to the fore its time capsule......

Read more here
NCD Alliance Newsletter
  • Global leaders agree to promote health to achieve SDGs
  • What's in it for me? Helping non-health sectors understand how NCDs impact them
  • Summary Report: NCDs at WHO Regional Committee Meetings 2016
  • UHC Day 2016: Joint event on urban health & sustainability
  • New study confirms global childhood inactivity crisis
  • Patient Solidarity Day calls for UHC for all
  • Health systems research initiative: 4th call opened
Read more

NCD Alliance Weekly Digest

NCDs News

Risk Factor News
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HCC News Roundup Archive - If you have missed any of our News Roundups you can view previous Roundups on our News Roundup Archive webpage here.
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.

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.
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