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

Patients assured safe, high quality drugs with establishment of Caribbean Regulatory System

Dr. James Hospedales
Dr. James Hospedales

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  April 7 2017.  The establishment of a Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) will improve conditions for patients in the Region to receive safe, efficacious, high quality drugs.  Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of a Capacity-Building workshop on the Regulation of Medicines earlier this week, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. C James Hospedales, stated, “Access to safe, efficacious and good quality drugs is a human right which CARPHA as the regional public health organisation is committed to facilitating.”

CARPHA, in collaboration with CARICOM and World Health Organisation/Pan American Health Organisation (WHO/PAHO), has established a CRS.  Dr. Hospedales explained that the CRS will focus on providing regulatory assurance to essential generic medicines for the Region.  He said “through the CRS, CARPHA will be able to help countries perform functions such as reviewing, approving and monitoring medicines, in a timely manner, allowing patients faster access to quality drugs.”  He added that it would also help to reduce cost of medicines to consumers and the health system, thereby improving accessibility and affordability.

With only five CARICOM countries currently conducting a review of safety, quality, and efficacy of drugs, PAHO Country Representative for Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, emphasised the need for strong regulatory systems for medicines.  She pointed out that limited capacity in the regulation of medicines can have several negative results, including the proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines.   This, she said “can injure and kill people”. pills-bottle (more…)

Overcoming stigma of depression: let’s talk

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 7 April, 2017: Depression, one of the leading causes of disability, affects nearly 50 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean.  This disease is treatable, yet six out of every ten people who have depression do not seek or do not receive the treatment they need.

“This disease is a major public health problem that affects us all.  It does not discriminate.  It impacts people of all ages, from all walks of life,” stated Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales in observance of World Health Day.   The CARPHA Director went on to say “despite being so common and because of the stigma attached, people affected may hide it, not seek treatment or not talk about it.”

“Depression: let’s talk.” is the theme chosen for this year for World Health Day.  It calls attention to this serious public health concern and advocates for recognising and addressing the disease.  The goal is for more people with depression, everywhere in the world, to both seek and get help.  (more…)

Let’s Talk!

World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilise action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.

The theme of 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression which Dr. Carissa Etienne,Director of the Pan American Health Organisation addresses in the video above.

Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.

Yet, depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.(

Barbados tackles unhealthy food environments

Healthy food alternatives on display (Photo via Health Caribbean Coalition)
Healthy food alternatives on display (Photo via Health Caribbean Coalition)

The Barbados Ministry of Health and the Barbados National NCD Commission on Friday, 24 March, 2017, hosted a national consultation on Healthy Foods for Barbadians under the theme ‘Affordable, Safe and Nutritious Food: Combatting NCDs’ (Non-Communicable Diseases).

The multi-sector meeting, which saw representation by schoolchildren, faith-based organisations and the local chamber of commerce, was opened by Sir Trevor Hassell, Chair of the Barbados National NCD Commission and President of the HCC. In his opening remarks, Sir Trevor highlighted the staggering impact of NCDs by asking participants to stand if they had an NCD. He then asked those with affected family members to stand. The entire room stood. The powerful exercise harkened back to the early days of HIV and AIDS activism and had an immediate and profound impact on delegates.

Acting PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Peter Cowley, followed with fulsome praise for the Barbados national NCD prevention and control response citing the implementation of the SSB tax, the National NCD Commission’s 10-year anniversary and the impact the collective efforts have had on the general public. He ended by sharing a recent experience in a Barber shop when two young men were discussing the unhealthiness of a national staple dish – macaroni pie. This is progress he remarked, when everyday people are discussing NCDs in their everyday lives. (more…)