CARICOM Heads step up commitment to Moving Caribbean people towards Healthier Lives

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On the occasion of the Third United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community hosted a breakfast event, in New York, on 27th September 2018. The theme “Moving Caribbean people towards healthier lives – step it up!” reflected their commitment to intensify their responses to NCDs.

CARICOM Breakfast Meeting on Non-Communicable-Diseases (NCD) (l-r) Canada’s Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor; Jamaica’s Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton; Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley; Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness; St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris; St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves; Sir George Alleyne, OCC.

The objectives of the event were to 1) celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Port of Spain Declaration: Uniting against the epidemic of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (POSD) which was issued by the historic summit of CARICOM on NCDs, and 2) launch a new regional initiative, Caribbean Moves – a re-energizing and intensification of the health promotion efforts through creative and innovative multi-sectoral collaboration.

The event, which was chaired by Dr. The Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister, St. Kitts and Nevis, was attended by six CARICOM Heads of Government,  and more than 25 Ministers of Health and of Foreign Affairs from the Pacific, and any other partner countries in the fight against NCDs. It was also attended by senior representatives of several international partners, Healthy Caribbean Coalition, and Caribbean regional institutions.

Speakers included the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister, Jamaica, Dr. The Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister, Vincent and the Grenadines and the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister, Barbados. The President of the UN General Assembly, also addressed participants. Among the key achievements of the POSD highlighted in a video were Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD), the establishment of NCD Commissions in a number of CARICOM territories and the creation of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, a regional non-governmental organization (NGO) which brings together civil society from across the region to advocate for NCD prevention and control.

A chat after the CARICOM Breakfast on NCD (from left) CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland; Sir George Alleyne OCC.

Caribbean Moves, was launched collectively by all the CARICOM Heads of Government present. This initiative will build on the experience of the Jamaica Moves initiative which creates a movement that promotes physical activity, healthy eating and age-appropriate health checks at the level of the school, workplace and community. It will contribute to one of the goals of the CARICOM Heads of Government to change the Caribbean culture towards a lifestyle of regular physical activity and healthier diets. Dr. Tedros, Director-General of the World Health Organization endorsed Caribbean Moves and Ms Ginette Petitpas Taylor, MP, Minister of Health, Canada also commended the CARICOM on the new initiative.

The event was co-sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization, University of the West Indies/George Alleyne Chronic Disease Centre, Caribbean Public Health Agency and Healthy Caribbean Coalition.


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