May 31, 2020

Non-communicable diseases in the Caribbean


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logoRegional Status Report Launch:  The Response to NCDs in the

(Port of Spain, Trinidad   & Bridgetown, Barbados)   A   major   step   towards   the   reduction of   Non- Communicable Diseases  (NCDs) was made today with the launch of the Regional Status Report on NCDs in the Caribbean at the NCD Child Conference, Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.    The report, sponsored by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition  (HCC), was prepared by a team led by Professor Nigel Unwin of the Faculty of Public Health UWI, Cave Hill Campus. Professor  Sir  Trevor  Hassell,  President  of  the  HCC,  reported    “What  we  have  done  is  to  assess  actions  that have  been  taken  since  the  Heads  of  Government  of    met  in  a  seminal  meeting  here  in  Port  of Spain  in  2007  and  issued  the  declaration  of  POS:  uniting  to  stop  the  epidemic  of  NCDs,  and  since  the  UN High  Level  Meeting  (UNHLM)  on  chronic  diseases  in  2011.    As far as we know this is the first occasion that a review has been undertaken regionally by a civil society organisation to determine the response to chronic diseases in the Caribbean.” The  80  page  report  provides  an  assessment  of  what  has  been  achieved,  what  has  not    been  achieved,  and advocates  from  a  civil  society  perspective  for  what  needs  to  be  done  to  slow  the  epidemic  of  NCDs  which is  resulting  in  more  than  7  out  of  every  10  deaths  and  has  the  potential  to  be  a  major  barrier  to development.

The main findings of the report are:

1. The Caribbean Region has played a significant role globally in advancing the response to NCDs.

2. Governments of the Region have for the most part accepted the concept that in order to effectively tackle the chronic diseases since they are lifestyle diseases all sectors of the society and all departments of government need to be involved and play their part.

3. Caribbean Wellness Day, which came out of the POS Declaration, has contributed to wide stakeholder involvement in the response to chronic disease.

4. Civil Society, especially health NGOs, continue to play a major role in the Caribbean especially in provision of services, fund raising, outreach and education about chronic diseases.

5. All but one CARICOM country has ratified the a WHO international treaty known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and some countries have enacted legislation in support of mandates of the treaty.

6. There are no national policies against advertising of unhealthy foods to children, or against the harmful use of alcohol.

7. No CARICOM country has national policies or major initiatives aimed at reducing salt intake of the population, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure, which are a major problem among Caribbean people and a major cause of heart disease.

8. Health systems in CARICOM provide services for NCDs in most CARICOM countries, with most of them providing medications at highly subsidized cost at point of delivery for NCDs.  But some weaknesses identified in health systems included, lack of equipment for management of certain lung conditions, absence of some drugs such as tamoxifen, and lack of well-established rehabilitative services.

Report advocates for some important actions that need to be taken:

1. Banning  (or at the very least limiting) the marketing of energy dense, high salt, foods and beverages to children;

2. Promoting reduction in salt consumption and reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages  (including fruit juices);

3. Banning the use/sale of transfats;

4. Establishment of regional standards for clear, consistent, food labelling;

5. Development of policies on physical activity; and development, implementation and monitoring of national strategies on the promotion of physical activity

6. Development of policies on reduction in harm from alcohol:  development, implementation and monitoring of national strategies on the reduction in harm from alcohol.

7. Use of up to date regionally derived evidence based guidelines for the treatment and management of chronic diseases,

8. All residents within CARICOM countries/territories have access to basic defined packages of NCD care irrespective of their ability to pay.

9. Development and implementation of a framework for standardising the treatment of hypertension using available core medications.

10. Application of the chronic care model in the provision of primary health care services in countries.

11. NCDs to be fully addressed within national development plans.

12. Opportunities sought for multi-stakeholder approach to the response to NCDs by engaging major groups of the society such as Faith‐based organizations, groups of retired persons, women’s groups, and workers representatives.

The report is one output of a grant provided by an international organisation known as the NCD Alliance and by Medtronic Philanthropy, which is the philanthropic arm of Medtronic-­a leading international medical equipment company.  The  grant  is  aimed  at  strengthening  health  systems,  and  supporting  action to  effectively  respond  to  the  NCD  epidemic. A similar report to that, which has been produced here in the Caribbean by HCC, is being produced in Brazil and South Africa and is also funded by the NCD Alliance and Medtronic Philanthropy.

For Additional Information, please contact: Maisha Hutton Manager HCC Secretariat I River Road, St. Michael, Barbados, BB11155 I tell 246 435-7486 I skype: maishahuttonhcc

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images-Caribbean-Mosquito_Aedea_aegypti_dengue_938599587Insect borne diseases pose threat to Caribbean

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Tuesday April 8, 2014, CMC – The Pan-American Health Organization () has warned that about 50 percent of people living in the Americas, including the Caribbean, are at risk of one or more diseases carried by insects.

The Washington-based PAHO said these insects include mosquitoes, ticks, flies and other vectors which carry diseases such as the West Nile virus, dengue, malaria and most recently chikungunya.

In a “call to action” for 2014, top health experts from North and South America and the Caribbean urged greater efforts by governments, communities and individuals to control the spread of these and other vector-borne diseases.

“Our region has achieved many successes in controlling vector-borne diseases,” said PAHO director Dr Carissa F. Etienne.

“However, this success is being threatened by the expansion of mosquitoes and other vectors into new habitats and by the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance,” she added.

Etienne said PAHO and its partners are, therefore, calling for “stepped-up” action in the fight against vector-borne diseases in the Americas.

“We as a world are in some ways more vulnerable than ever,” said Dr Tom Frieden, director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

The most recent vector-borne disease to establish itself in the Americas is chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease that first appeared in Tanzania in the 1950s.

In December 2013, two cases of locally acquired chikungunya were reported on the island of St Maarten.

By the end of March 2014, more than 3,000 cases had been confirmed in 10 Caribbean countries, PAHO said.

PAHO has called on governments, communities, individuals and donors to take action toward further progress and to face future threats from vector-borne diseases.

“Everyone has a role to play,” said Etienne.

PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world.

It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of World Health Organization (WHO).

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