The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

August 5th - August 11th 2016


HCC and COMSEC National NCD Commission Consultation in Antigua

A three day meeting in Antigua & Barbuda (ATG), 8-10 August 2016, provided an opportunity to continue COMSEC's technical cooperation (TC) with Ministries of Health in Caribbean countries to establish/strengthen multisectoral National Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Commissions (NNCDCs), as recommended in the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration on NCDs by the CARICOM Heads of Government. The TC began with an assessment of NNCDCs in September 2015, which was done in partnership with the HCC and led to the publication of the document "A Civil Society Report on National NCD Commissions in the Caribbean - Towards a More Effective Multisectoral Response to NCDs, Part I". Subsequently, in response to an identified need to provide guidance to Commissions for their establishment and strengthening, the COMSEC-HCC partnership produced the draft document "A Framework for the Establishment and Strengthening of National NCD Commissions - Towards a More Effective Multisectoral Response to NCDs, Part II". 

In order to facilitate the finalization and dissemination of Part II, COMSEC-HCC's further TC involves piloting the draft Implementation Framework (IF) in selected countries and obtaining feedback, along with identification of priority needs for additional TC. A COMSEC-HCC consultant, Dr. Beverley Barnett, was identified to carry out the tasks, and ATG was one of the countries selected. Read more

Port of Spain Evaluation on NCDs - Facts, Figures and Implementation Ideas

Port of Spain Declaration Evaluation
The Port of Spain evaluation on NCDs contains a wealth of detail and recommendations on the way forward in the multisectoral challenge to the epidemic of chronic diseases in the Caribbean. Here is a wide-ranging but easily digestible look at the situation in a number of critical areas and what can and should be done next. Read more

Visit the Port of Spain Declaration Evaluation website here for more information and ongoing updates. You can also follow the POS Evaluation on Twitter and Facebook

Jamaica Cancer Society - Cervical Cancer is the Second Most Common Cancer Affecting Women in Jamaica.

ACCORDING to the Jamaica Cancer Society, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women in Jamaica.

The realisation that women in and around the parish of St Elizabeth didn’t have access to diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer caught the attention of the Sandals and Bob Marley foundations last year. In mid-July of 2015, the foundations gifted the Women’s Health Network a colposcope to benefit women in the regions of Santa Cruz, Magotty and Black River through the Black River Health Centre. The colposcope allows for the examination of the cervix, vagina and vulva following Pap smear results that show abnormality.
Members of the Women’s Health Network at the Black River Health Centre.
The foundations committed to provide funding over a two-year period towards this initiative. One year later in 2016, the foundations have taken the initiative a step further and donated two additional pieces of medical equipment — an Autoclave valued at $650,000 used for the sterilisation of medical tools, and a Cryo unit valued at $800,000 to assist with the treatment of cervical cancer. The donation of these two pieces of equipment to the Women’s Health Network towards their health mission resulted in 485 women being served by the Black River Health Centre in two days on July 12 and 14. The mobile health mission will move to the parish of St Mary this month. Read more

Improving the Healthiness of Food Environments in the Caribbean

Improving the Healthiness of Food Environments in the Caribbean
A recently concluded stakeholder dialogue on how to improve the Healthiness of Food Environments in the Caribbean was held in the Turks and Caicos Islands on June 22, 2016.  Supported by the Pan American Health Organization, the goal of the dialogue was to share knowledge and spark insights about how this important health issue could be addressed.  Download the complete set of dialogue outputs here.  To search for research and policy relevant documents with a specific focus on the Caribbean visit the EvIDeNCe Portal.

There is also more information on this meeting on the HCC website here.

CARPHA 61st Annual Health Research Conference

The CARPHA 61st Annual Health Research Conference on ‘Family Health – Living Healthy at all ages’ on June 23 – 25, 2016 at Beaches Resort and Spa, Turks and Caicos Islands was a great success.

Please visit the Conference website to view the conference highlights, photos from the events and to access the 2017 Call for Papers.

Health Warnings on Food Packages Likely

PAHO’s Advisor on Chronic Diseases for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Dr Tomo Kanda
Packaged, bottled and canned foods sold on supermarket shelves here could soon carry health warnings on the amount of sugar, salt and trans fat contained in these products.

Barbados and sister Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country Jamaica undertook at a recent conference to develop food and nutrition labelling systems that are easy to understand and can serve as benchmarks for the region.
PAHO’s Advisor on Chronic Diseases for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Dr Tom Kanda said the two countries were expected to come up with a food content disclosure formula, “which is user-friendly for all consumers and hopefully we can standardized such labelling among CARICOM countries”. Read more

Labelling Concerns Discussed at Food Law Conference 

Minister of Health, John Boyce, at the opening of the Barbados Food Law and Industry Conference
The removal and or manipulation of labels on food products was amongst the issues to be discussed during the second annual Barbados Food Law and Industry Conference, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Acknowledging the serious health threats to consumers, Attorney-at-Law, Susan Sealy, and founder of the Genesis Law Chambers which hosted the conference, added that event would examine recent product recalls, issues relating to inconsistencies with food labels, and labels which cannot be clearly understood and read. Read more

Obesity May Increase Brain-age from Mid-life

Obesity May Increase Brain-age from Mid-life
As recently reported in the Jamaica Gleaner a new study published in the journal Neurobiology of Ageing, researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience in the United Kingdom found that the brains of overweight people are 10 years older compared with their lean counterparts - but only when they reach middle age and up.
The link between obesity and adverse health outcomes such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease is well-established and poses a major challenge to current and future health care provision. Moreover, it is increasingly recognized that obesity may act to accelerate or advance the onset of age-related changes such as neurodegeneration, either directly or through associated co-morbidities (Doherty 2011). These associations, taken together with the increased rate of obesity in elderly populations (Flegal et al. 2012) render it critical to understand the full impact of obesity on brain health, in particular as evidence suggests that adverse outcomes may be mitigated through intervention (Gunstad et al. 2011). Read more

Asthma Pill Hailed in Early Test

The first new asthma pill in nearly 20 years has led to a sharp improvement in symptoms for chronic sufferers of the disease, according to an early test of the drug.

A treatment called fevipiprant eased asthma symptoms, improved lung function, reduced inflammation and repaired the lining of airways, researchers reported on Friday.

"This new drug could be a game-changer for future treatment of asthma,” said Chris Brightling, a professor at the University of Leicester, central England, who led the study. Read more

Related Press coverage:

Skin Cancer Deadlier for Persons of Colour

Skin Cancer Deadlier For Blacks
American researchers have found that blacks are less likely to survive melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – despite whites having a higher chance of developing it.

And although patients of colour are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma once it has spread and is harder to treat, they also have the worst survival rates for every stage of the disease. Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, but is most commonly found on the back, legs, arms and face, and even underneath a fingernail or toenail. Read more

The Essentiality of Exercise

The Essentiality of Exercise
In a recent article in the Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaican Doctor Garth Rattay talked about exercise, his dislike of the word obese and and reducing sedentary lifestyle. 

I'm certainly no physical specimen, I used to be very big into the gym thing but, for a multiplicity of reasons, I fell off the metaphorical fitness wagon so hard that I broke something. My will to get back on the wagon was broken so badly that the very thought of exercising was accompanied by a whiff of profanity. I absolutely loathe the word 'obese' because it carries with it the impression of someone who looks like a beast, one who is slothful, one who constantly gorges on all kinds of bad things and one who is totally incapable of even the tiniest modicum of self-control. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I prefer the word 'endomorphic' - the propensity for easily gaining the wrong kind of weight. I'm endomorphic because of my family genes, my job and the stressors that life bring. Read more

CDC Official Exits Agency After Coca-Cola Connections Come to Light

A veteran leader within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced her immediate departure from the agency on Thursday, two days after it came to light that she had been offering guidance to a leading Coca-Cola advocate who was seeking to influence world health authorities on sugar and beverage policy matters.
Dr. Barbara Bowman
In her role at CDC, Dr. Barbara Bowman, director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, has been involved in a range of health policy initiatives for the division charged with providing “public health leadership.”

Bowman’s boss, Ursula Bauer, Director, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, sent an email to staff members after a story revealed the Coca-Cola connections. Read more

UK Supermarkets Accused of Promoting Obesity by Allowing 'Special Offers' on Seven out of 10 Fizzy Drinks

Seven in ten fizzy drinks sold by supermarkets are on "special offer"
Seven in ten fizzy drinks sold by supermarkets are on "special offer" a study has found, as retailers are accused of hypocrisy after launching public campaigns to reduce the amount of sugar their customers eat. Research by consumer group Which? found 69pc soft drinks that would fall under the higher sugar band category of the Government's proposed sugar tax are on promotion in stores, while more than half (52pc) of confectionery is also on special offer. Read more
Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Latest
Rehab is...
For those who are uncertain or have no idea about Cardiac Rehabilitation then lets take a brief look.

Maternal Nutrition
Nutrition starts here... The good health of the fetus and newborn depends significantly on the nutritional status of the mother during and prior to conception.

Read more from the Heart & Stroke Foundation newsletter here.
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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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