Integrated Vector Management: a critical strategy for fighting vector-borne diseases in the Region

Dr. James Hospedales

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 5 December, 2017.  “The increased severity of dengue and the occurrence of new viruses that have swept through the Region tell us we have a gap in regional health security where vector borne diseases are concerned.  This year we had storms that were unprecedented.  We are expected to see more monster storms which will cause disruption including making the environment more favorable for vectors.  Hence the need for integrated vector management and looking at some of the new tools that are available.”

These were the words of Dr C James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as he spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the Integrated Vector Management (IVM) coordinated by the Agency.

The two-day meeting held from 5-6 December 2017, at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, brought together participants from 27 English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking countries in the Region to review and discuss the adaptation of standardised protocols for improved vector surveillance, including insecticide resistance testing.  The meeting will engage regional vector control managers in discussions related to the adaptation and use of a IVM toolkit in national vector control programmes.

The transmission of vector-borne diseases is strongly influenced by demographic, social and environmental factors, resulting in the emergence and re-emergence of yellow fever, malaria and dengue; and more recently, the emergence of chikungunya and zika in the Region. (more…)

Coconut boost for Barbados, Region

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Barbados and the region can have a bustling coconut industry, despite being smaller than major growers such as Indonesia and The Philippines.

This assertion was made by Maurice Wilson, who is the Regional Coconut Industry Coordinator at the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

He was speaking with the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) following the inaugural meeting of the National Stakeholders Platform (NSP) on the coconut industry, recently held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Graeme Hall offices.

Barbados is among 11 CARIFORUM countries participating in a European Union (EU)-funded Caribbean Coconut Industry Development project. The Euro 4 million project, being executed by CARDI, is geared towards enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s coconut industry, thereby ensuring food security, creating jobs and generating revenue.

Mr. Wilson gave an overview of the undertaking, and noted that the Caribbean’s coconut industry was thrown into a tailspin decades ago, after coconut oil was deemed unhealthy. “In the 1970s, the coconut industry in the region virtually collapsed, because there was a soya bean lobby, which indicated that coconut oil was bad for the system.

Read more at: Barbados Government Information Service

Saint Lucia Ministry of Health to regulate sale of soft drinks

soft drinkThe Ministry of Health and Wellness (of Saint Lucia) is embarking on a campaign to discontinue the sale of soda pop, or soft drinks on school compounds.

The highly sweetened fizzy drink is known to have disastrous effects on health. Regular consumption of soda is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, cavities among others.

On Nov. 23, Chief Nutritionist Lisa Hunt Mitchell hosted one of several meetings with school principals from Districts 5, 6 and 7 to discuss the best way to reduce the consumption of soda among the youth. She said the intention is not to place a hole in the pockets of the local manufacturers, but instead, to ensure a healthier nation.

“We are aware of the negative impacts of soft drinks, so the Ministry of Health is engaging school principals, so that they can be supportive in trying to curtail the sale of soft drinks at the schools. We want to encourage the children to drink more water, instead of juices or soft drinks. Sweetened beverages are bad for the health in general, but soft drinks have added ingredients such as caffeine, phosphoric acid, and colourings that are far worse. These ingredients have very negative effects on the health.”

Read more at: Government of Saint Lucia

Caribbean can only ‘build back better’ with international support, urgent climate action – UN, CARICOM Chiefs and Heads of Government

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New York, 21 November 2017 – In view of the urgent needs of Caribbean islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the “CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community ” mobilised a broad partnership to support reconstruction efforts, including through over US$1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

Support derived from nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organizations and the private sector gathered at UN headquarters today with the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help countries to “build back better” as the first climate-resilient countries in the world

Recovery costs surpass $5billion, according to the latest needs estimates. In some cases the impact is 3.5 times countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), for example in the British Virgin Islands.The principal economic sectors of tourism and agriculture have been significantly affected, according to assessments made public during the conference, organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) working with sister UN agencies.

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