02. May 2018

Caribbean forum supports regional fight against diabetes and other NCDs

Gwendolyn Carleton
Meeting ends with a plan for lead-up process to the UN High-level meeting in September.
Delegates to the Caribbean NCD Forum in Kingston on April 25.
On April 23 - 25, 2018 in Kingston, Jamaica, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), supported by the World Diabetes Foundation and Sagicor Life, hosted the Caribbean NCD Forum: Supporting national and regional advocacy in the Caribbean in the lead up to the 3rd UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs. 
The primary goal was to mobilise regional stakeholders to ensure that the Caribbean is fully engaged in the 3rd UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, which will be held on September 27th in New York at the UN General Assembly.
The meeting brought together a diverse group of more than 100 stakeholders including representatives from civil society, government and the private sector working to combat NCDs in the region under the banner of the NCD Alliance's global ENOUGH NCDs campaign. 
Among them was Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health in Jamaica, who described the impact of the ‘Jamaica Moves’ campaign in his country and encouraged delegates from other Caribbean islands to join forces to meet regional and global NCD targets.
Other featured speakers included Sandra Granger, the First Lady of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; Selwin Hart, Ambassador of Barbados to the USA and Permanent Representative to the OAS; Courtenay Rattray, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the UN; Reema Carmona, former First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago, George Alleyne, Director Emeritus of PAHO; Katie Dain, CEO NCD Alliance; Beatriz Champagne of the Latin American Health Coalition (CLAS); and; Trevor Hassell, HCC President.
Moving towards the UN High-Level Meeting
Delegates discussed how to encourage regional heads of government to attend the UN High-level meeting, and agreed on priorities for regional civil society organisations at the meeting. The HCC also used the opportunity to launch the Childhood Obesity Prevention online call to action, which is part of their broader TooMuchJunk campaign. The meeting wrapped up with delegates sharing their personal NCD stories
The Forum was held in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Jamaica Ministry of Health, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), the Diabetes Association of Jamaica (DAJ), the University of the West Indies Open Campus (UWI OC), Jamaica University of Technology, HCC member organisations across the region and the NCD Alliance. HCC also acknowledged the support of PAHO.
Bent Lautrup-Nielsen, WDF Senior Programme Manager, noted that WDF has supported the Caribbean region for more than a decade and is committed to continuing its support, as the Caribbean nations are among the most severely affected by diabetes and other NCDs worldwide. A special session during the Caribbean NCD Forum was dedicated to the achievements of WDF-supported projects in Guyana, Suriname, Belize, Haiti, Dominican Republic, St.Luica and Grenada.
During the forum, WDF also announced its recently approved 400,000 USD grant supporting the ‘Diabetes Prevention and Care Project’ (WDF17-1555), a project developed by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, OECS. The main aim of the project is to reach the diabetes community and general population in the smaller island states of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines with messages and activities encouraging healthier lifestyles. The project will also train health workers on updated guidelines and support the development of an OECS diabetes registry.
For more on the forum and the UN High-level Meeting see the Forum webpage and the hashtag #hccncdforumjamaica
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