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The Port of Spain evaluation on NCDs contains a wealth of detail and recommendations on the way forward in the multisectoral challenge to the epidemic of chronic diseases in the Caribbean. Here is a wide-ranging but easily digestible look at the situation in a number of critical areas and what can and should be done next.

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In 2007 CARICOM Heads of State signed a landmark Declaration to tackle the epidemic of NCDs

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The Port of Spain Declaration promotes policies and behaviours that encourage the pursuit of better health on an individual, community, national and regional level

© PAHO-WHO/David Spitz

CARICOM pledges stronger action on NCDs

In July 2016 CARICOM Heads of Government pledged to address:
banning of smoking in public places;
banning advertisement of potentially harmful foods which specifically target children;
raising taxes on foods high in sugar, salt and trans fats

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NCDs pose a major threat to both the health and future of the region and could seriously effect hard-won development gains

© PAHO-WHO/David Spitz

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Childhood obesity exceeds 10% in most countries,
driven by consuming high-fat, high sugar food and drink,
Less than 1/3 of school children, 13-15, get the recommended level of physical activity

© fotolia/rubberball/igp

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NCD mortality in the Caribbean is the highest in the Americas.
40% of NCD deaths occur in those under 70 and are potentially preventable

Photo Credit: Shari John

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Heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and cancers are the leading causes of premature death in the region. Hypertension is the leading risk factor for death

© PAHO-WHO/David Spitz

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Diabetes prevalence is double global rates. Up to 25% of adults in some countries have diabetes

© PAHO-WHO/David Spitz

Introduction

 

The Port of Spain Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases: the path to a healthier Caribbean

In 2007, CARICOM leaders signed the ground-breaking Port of Spain Declaration aimed at uniting to stop the epidemic of NCDs. Now this Declaration is being evaluated by a team of top experts.

Are these ambitious commitments being met? What are the successes and challenges?

The evaluation answers these critical questions.

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Latest Updates

  • facts-figures

    More facts, more figures, more implementation ideas

    The Port of Spain evaluation on NCDs contains a wealth of detail and recommendations on the way forward in the multisectoral challenge to the epidemic of chronic diseases in the Caribbean. Here is a wide-ranging but easily digestible look at the situation in a number of critical areas and what can and should be done […]

  • Did you know?

    Did you know?

    NCD mortality in the Caribbean is the highest in the Americas; Our diabetes prevalence is double global rates; In some countries over 50% of the population has high blood pressure; Less than a third of school children aged 13-15 years get the recommended level of physical activity? Click on our latest fact sheet to get […]

  • A CARICOM Minister Reflects

    A CARICOM Head of Government reflects….

    H.E. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, was one of the original signatories of the Port of Spain Declaration on chronic non-communicable diseases and is attending the 38th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference which is marking the 10th Anniversary of the signing of this landmark declaration. Here are his thoughts on […]

  • POSD 10th Anniversary

    10 years after the Port of Spain Declaration: what’s the score?

    2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the landmark CARICOM Heads of Government Port of Spain Declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This year’s thirty-eighth CARICOM Conference of Heads (July 4-6) is expected to celebrate this momentous achievement. In 2007, the Caribbean led the world in convening the very first conference of Heads of […]

  • Dr Alafia Samuels

    How to live a longer, healthier life & avoid chronic illness

    For all you ever wanted to know about how to live a longer and healthier life and how to take steps to avoid chronic illness, listen to Dr Alafia Samuels, head of the Port of Spain NCD evaluation, being interviewed by Natasha Lettsome for the Government Information Service in BVI. No preaching, just lots of […]

  • group-3

    New trial to target preventable deaths in the Caribbean

    Bridgetown, Barbados, February 17, 2017.  A study just launched will investigate ways to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which cause more than 60 per cent of deaths in the Caribbean. Researchers from King’s College London, the University of Guyana (UG), Ross University Dominica and the University of the West […]

  • CARPHA GROUP SHOT

    Challenge to childhood obesity in the Caribbean gets a high-level boost

    The need to address a growing epidemic of childhood obesity in the Caribbean brought together a range of top regional experts, leaders and officials in Barbados recently with the aim of thrashing out a road map to respond to this epidemic and make a difference to our children’s health. Hosted by the Caribbean Public Health […]

  • World Cancer Day

    CARPHA – “We can, I can” Reduce My Risk of Cancer

    Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. February 4, 2017. The large number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in the Caribbean is very alarming, since cervical cancer is largely preventable, and breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully. Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr C. James Hospedales said, “Common modifiable […]

  • Childhood and adolescent obesity is a major health issues in the Caribbean

    Childhood and adolescent obesity

    Childhood and adolescent obesity is a major health issue in the Caribbean: more than 10% of young people are now obese. In some countries this figure rises to around 25%. Less than a third are active enough and are at growing risk of NCDs such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. In fact, in Barbados […]

  • Dr Godfrey Xuereb, PAHO/WHO Representative, Barbados

    Let’s protect the sugary drinks tax in Barbados

    It is critically important that “we all work together to protect the tax on carbonated beverages” in Barbados, says a top regional official of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation. Dr Godfrey Xuereb, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados, told a packed public lecture held at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus that […]

CARICOM leaders: Breakthrough in the fight against NCDs in the region

CARICOM leaders: Breakthrough in the fight against NCDs in the region

The push for a healthier Caribbean received a considerable boost this week as the leaders at the 38th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Grenada made new commitments to tackle the epidemic of chronic diseases which is costing the region dear in terms of health and development.

In a session devoted to action against NCDs (non-communicable diseases), the leaders discussed a raft of measures to declare the Caribbean a tobacco-free zone by 2022

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Sugar Shocker

Sugar Shocker

At the 38th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference one of the main attractions in the meeting area was a ‘sugar display’ constructed by the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre .

A number of people who saw the display expressed real surprise and concern about the amount of sugar we’re consuming. They included the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr the Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell, current CARICOM Chair and Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, CARICOM’s lead spokesperson on human resource, health and HIV.

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POS Declaration

Declaration of Port-Of-Spain: Uniting to Stop the Epidemic Of Chronic NCDs

We, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 15 September 2007 on the occasion of a special Regional Summit on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs);Conscious of the collective actions which have in the past fuelled regional integration, the goal of which is to enhance the well-being of the citizens of our countries;

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Public perceptions of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

What does the public understand about NCDs? Have they heard of them? What are their experiences of them and how do they feel they touch their lives?

This was the question that Dr Anique Atherley, a Junior Research Fellow at the University of the West Indies and a group of researchers set out to answer in a quick research project focusing on short street interviews with Barbadian men and women. They captured a variety of opinions in a variety of settings around the island.

Here is a selection of their voices.

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Living with cancer: Michelle’s story

Michelle O'Kieffe

Michelle O’Kieffe was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at the age of 32. Having been in remission for many years, she is determined to improve support for women living with cancer in Trinidad and Tobago. Here is her story.

My name is Michelle O’Kieffe and I live in Trinidad. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2000 at the age of 32.

I discovered a small lump just below my right breast. When I went to get it checked out the doctors were more panicked than I was. I didn’t have a clue that it could be cancer. There was no history of it in my family and I was young, 121 pounds, I didn’t smoke, I was vegetarian, really active.

But when I got the diagnosis, that the cancer had already spread, I took it in my stride. I saw it as another challenge, another hurdle to get over. If anything it was harder on my mum who was alive at the time. She took all the worry, all the emotion, asked all the questions that I didn’t want to ask.

It was hard on my husband and kids as well. I had two sons Christopher aged 12 and Christian 6. I started preparing them for what might happen.

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"We need to urgently tackle NCDs in our region and the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration helps us rise to the challenge. We are now evaluating the Declaration to find out where we have succeeded and where we can do better as we strive for a healthier Caribbean"
Dr Rudolph Cummings, Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

"The epidemic of non-communicable diseases is the pre-eminent public health challenge in the Caribbean. But the response goes far beyond health. That’s why we need a multisectoral approach that involves the whole-of-government and the whole-of-society. The Port of Spain Declaration evaluation helps guide us in what each sector should be doing to respond more effectively"
Dr C. James Hospedales, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

"There are those who can make lifestyle adjustments to challenge NCDs but there are other people who can’t do this on their own. We need government policy to address the realities of the typical man and woman in the Caribbean who has real difficulty making healthy choices because of the environment they live in"
Dr Patrick Martin, Chief Medical Officer, St Kitts and Nevis

"I often speak about the connection between spirituality and health, drawing attention to the theological notion that God Almighty cares about the whole person; about our immortal souls and our bodies. So we need to take care of them. We need to eat better, be active and reduce stress"
Canon Noel Burke, Rector of St David’s Church, Barbados

"The emotional impact of Trevor’s Illness is very profound, for example, the moments of sadness… especially when I think of the many things he was capable of and the many plans he had for the future. I miss our conversations too"
Beverley Redhead, commenting on life after husband Trevor’s stroke

"As a church elder, I preach that God wants us to look after ourselves not only spiritually but physically too. Our health is important to Him and it should be to us as well"
Priscilla Prevost, Health Coordinator for the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh - day Adventists

"As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Port of Spain Declaration in 2017, its evaluation allows us the opportunity to review the state of implementation of the 27 commitments and to reflect on the lessons learned, as we scale up our efforts to tackle the epidemic of non-communicable diseases in the Caribbean"
Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)