Health checks for CARICOM staff members during Caribbean Wellness Week

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s corridors, Conference Room and Staff Lounge were transformed into one-stop mini-health clinics for a week in observance of Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) 2017. From September 11 – 15 members of staff of the Secretariat staff benefited from medical services and wellness activities at its Georgetown, Guyana, headquarters.

Love That Body: Securing a Future Generation through Eating Healthy and Not Smoking was the theme of this year’s observance.

Health care officials from Guyana’s Ministry of Health, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Da Silva’s Optical and the Guyana School of Dentistry conducted health checks including; Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation, immunisations, blood pressure, glucose and HIV testing, as well as dental and vision screening.

Fun, interactive games were played to increase awareness of the importance of exercise. Seminars were also held on breast, cervical and prostate cancers; nutrition and exercise. Quite significantly, an Outpatient Clinic, outfitted with two doctors, was set up for staff to discuss health issues. Medication was available from a mini Pharmacy. The Georgetown Chest Clinic visited on Wednesday to brief staff on the latency of Tuberculosis and the importance of getting tested. The week’s activities wrapped up with a Zumba dance exercise activity on Thursday and a games afternoon featuring cricket, football table tennis and scrabble on Friday, September 15.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person and are of long duration and generally of slow progression. The five main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks and stroke), certain cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), type 2 diabetes, and mental disorders. (Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases)
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Urgent action required to curb chronic NCDs – PM Harris

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 11, 2017 (SKNIS):  Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) continue to take a toll on CARICOM Member States, and urgent action is required to curb the threat of such diseases, said Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during National Assembly on Tuesday, July 11.

Prime Minister Harris was updating the general public and the listening audience on the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, held in Grenada from July 4-6, where he was given the opportunity to present a study on the economic ramifications of NCDs as it relates to Trinidad and Tobago. A similar study was also done in Barbados and Jamaica.

“The study estimated that five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is being lost by the impact of preventable diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Half of that five per cent is direct medical care cost and the other half is in the loss of productivity,” said Prime Minister Harris, adding that if one was to examine the growth pattern of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region over the last 10 plus years, they would not find that the country would have grown by five percent.

“Therefore, when in fact five per cent of the economy is being impacted negatively with respect to NCDs, this is a major cause for concern. The costs here are significant and they are as unsustainable for any country. Importantly, these diseases are preventable impediments to growth.”

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Incidences of Foodborne Ailments on the Rise in the Caribbean Region

CARPHA_logoPort of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  24th March, 2017.  Every year, thousands of people in the Caribbean experience food-borne illnesses, after exposure to contaminated food or drink. Persons affected usually experience severe diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, sometimes accompanied by fever, headaches and other symptoms. Recent increases in reported incidents of foodborne diseases (FBDs), have now made this common health issue a regional priority.  (more…)

‘Don’t panic’ – CTO, CHTA compiles FAQs on zika, travel to Caribbean

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Zika virus and travel to the Caribbean.

We hope you will find these details helpful. We implore you not to panic,” the tourism organisations said.

The spread of the Zika virus in the Americas, with Brazil as the epicentre, and the possible though not yet proven accompanying link to microcephaly has, understandably, caused concern. The Level 2 alert issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created doubt among some potential travellers to the Caribbean as to whether or not their health is at risk and whether or not they should continue with their travel plans.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.
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WHO declares Zika an International Public Health Emergency

WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan
WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan

The World Health Organization declared the spread of Zika and an associated birth defect an international public health emergency Monday, freeing funds to combat the disease.

“This is an extraordinary event,” said WHO Director General Margaret Chan at a press conference Monday.

“It poses a public health threat to other parts of the world and a coordinated international response is needed.”

Chan cited the pattern of the disease’s spread, the lack of a vaccine, and the large global population of mosquitoes that can carry the virus as factors that contributed to the declaration.

Read more at: Time