Tackling NCDs

Seven Caribbean countries are on course to achieve the global target set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for reducing the number of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre of the University of the West Indies, Dr. Alafia Samuels, said Tuesday.

She was at the time delivering an address at a sub-regional workshop at the Accra Beach Hotel, Bridgetown, Barbados.

According to the Barbados Today media house, Dr. Samuels reported that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States, The Bahamas, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and CARICOM Associate Members, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, were on course to reduce their total number of NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025, while the rate of mortality was on the rise in other countries.


“So there are actually countries in the Caribbean where the mortality rate is increasing. In most countries it is decreasing, but there are a couple where it is increasing. And major contributors to these disparities have been trends in stroke and ischaemic heart disease and diabetes,” the media house quoted Dr. Samuels as saying.

Roots and tubers: A potential cash cow in the Caribbean

Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of 1 year (Photo via Spore)
Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of one year (Photo via Spore)

Root and tuber crops (RTCs) such as arrowroot, cassava, dasheen, eddoe, ginger, sweet potato, tania and yam are farmed throughout the Caribbean and remain a staple of traditional diets. Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and some eastern Caribbean countries are self-sufficient in RTCs with Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines leading regional exports.

However, with the capacity to create value-added products for local consumption and export, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has identified cassava, sweet potato and yam with the highest potential for development.

RTC crops can withstand up to 98 per cent of hurricane disasters and have good potential even as regional climate patterns change, as planting material can be sourced locally, and farmers are familiar with RTC production. RTCs are also valued for their ‘good’ complex carbohydrates, which provide better glycemic indices (food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar), compared to imported refined carbohydrates; they are also high in dietary fibre and low in calorie count, which are important considerations for health-conscious markets in Europe.

Read more at: SPORE

Total Community involvement essential to fighting Aedes aegypti mosquito

Dr. James Hospedales
Dr. James Hospedales

 “Community participation is critical to the success of any programme designed to eliminate breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.   Efforts are doomed to failure if even one household is negligent.”

So said Dr C James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as he commented on the importance of Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week, which is being observed from May 8-12.

In his assessment of the mosquito prevention efforts in the Region thus far, Dr Hospedales noted that strategies for the control of the mosquito, which causes Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika are failing, and stated that what is needed is an “all hands onboard approach.”Dominica Aedes_Aegypti_Mosquito (more…)

Agriculture stakeholders discuss regional food safety

Fruits and vegetables (OECS website)

May 2, 2017 — In an effort to enhance the quality of agricultural produce in the Region, food safety stakeholders convened in Barbados from April 25-26, 2017 to discuss the improvement of plant health in the Region.

The two-day consultations, conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Services (APHIS), and the Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative (GCIS), discussed the implementation of programmes to safeguard the region from the introduction and spread of pests and invasive species.

A primary objective of the gathering was to foster synergies among partners and formulate plans for the upcoming year. The meeting also sought to develop the draft agenda for 10th Annual Caribbean Plant Health Directors’ (CPHD) Forum Meeting, scheduled to be held in the Dominican Republic in July, 2017.

The meeting in progress (Photo via OECS)
The meeting in progress (Photos via OECS)

Read more at: OECS 

PAHO develops new guidelines to help reduce alcoholic consumption in Caribbean

(Photo via Jamaica Observer)
(Photo via Jamaica Observer)

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says it has developed new principles for regional countries to consider in developing regulations for alcoholic consumption and related harms.

On Tuesday, PAHO said that “alcohol marketing regulation and monitoring for the protection of public health provides elements that governments can use to strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks that would help reduce or eliminate exposure to alcohol marketing”.

The organisation noted that alcohol marketing is widespread in the Americas, including the Caribbean, with modern marketing techniques that go beyond traditional print and electronic media advertisements to include branded merchandise, sponsorships of sporting teams and events, discount pricing, social media, and sales or supply at educational or health establishments.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer