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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

© PAHO-WHO/David Spitz



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 […]

  • 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 […]


    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 […]

  • SSB Lecture

    Increasing taxes on sugary drinks – will it make us healthier?

    Can the rising epidemic of obesity in the Caribbean be tackled by taxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)? How effective is this strategy? Many countries have tried it, including Mexico. In August 2015, the Barbados Ministry of Finance implemented a 10% tax on sugary drinks to help reduce consumption. Dominica has now done the same. But will […]

  • Christmas Stuffing?

    Christmas stuffing?

    For most of us the holidays are a time to kick back, relax and indulge in rich food and drink. We asked dietician Rachel Harris for some practical tips on how to make the most of the season, while keeping our health in mind. Be prepared When you’re going to Christmas parties, it’ll be easier […]

Dr Alafia Samuels discussing accelerating action on NCDs

Join a lively Dr Alafia Samuels, head of the Port of Spain Evaluation project, discussing how to accelerate action on NCDs so we can all get to our “three score years and 10”.

She’s chatting with Joan Tull, the project’s information and communications officer.

Informative and not too heavy!

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Healthy eats, tasty treats

We’re starting a new series, sharing healthy recipes that are also tasty and easy to prepare.

Do let us know if you have any great recipe ideas.

This week we have a simple dish: rancher’s eggs (huevos rancheros). The eggs are baked in a spicy tomato sauce, made using a similar method to a Trinidadian tomato choka. The tomatoes are roasted and allowed to char slightly to give the sauce a smoky flavour.

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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.

 Read more

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)