Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Regional Status Report on NCDs a major achievement

THE Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) is at present celebrating a landmark initiative, that of the production of a Regional Status Report on NCDs in the Caribbean, which the HCC says will be a major step towards the reduction of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) across the Caribbean islands.

Professor Sir Trevor Hassell, President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, spoke of the key report, which is a response to the NCDs epidemic in the Caribbean Community, during a press briefing held at Sagicor Headquarters, Wildey, St. Michael, Barbados on Monday, to discuss the Report and other landmark HCC initiatives.
Edward Clarke (left), Chief Operating Officer at Sagicor Life Inc.
and General Manager of the Barbados Operations, listens as Professor
Sir Trevor Hassell, President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC),
speaks about the recently launched Regional Status Report on NCDs.

The Regional Status Report on NCDs was launched on March 20, 2014 at the NCD Child Conference event held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Trinidad. The Report, sponsored by the HCC, was prepared by a team led by Professor Nigel Unwin of the Faculty of Public Health, UWI Cave Hill Campus.

Professor Hassell noted that the HCC assessed actions that had been taken since the Heads of Government of CARICOM, who met in a seminal meeting in Port-of-Spain in 2007, took a decision to unite to stop the NCDs epidemic. Decisions taken in the UN High-Level Meeting on Chronic Diseases in 2011 were also assessed.

The 80-page report provides an assessment of what has been achieved, what has not been achieved and advocates from a civil society perspective what needs to be done to slow the epidemic of NCDs, which according to Hassell, is resulting in more than seven out of ten deaths and has the potential to be a major barrier to development.

The main findings suggest that the Caribbean region has played a significant role globally in advancing the response to NCDs.

It notes also that 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, taking a multi-sectoral approach.

It also points out that civil societies, especially NGOs, continue to play a major role in the Caribbean, especially in the provision of services, fund-raising, outreach and education about chronic diseases.

However, in its Call to Action, the Report advocates for some important actions to be taken which includes banning (or at the very least limiting) the marketing of energy dense, high salt foods and beverages to children.

The Report, amongst other things, also calls for the development of policies on physical activity and the development, implementation and monitoring of national strategies on the promotion of physical activity.

Hassell noted that the Report is one output of a grant provided by the NCD Alliance an international organisation and by Medtronic Philanthropy, 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. (RSM)

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