Health Surveillance and Disease Prevention and Control / Chronic Diseases
Healthy Caribbean 2008: Chronic Disease Prevention Civil Society Conference
(Barbados, 16–18 October 2008)
This meeting was co-sponsored by PAHO, the Inter American Health Foundation (IAHF), the Caribbean Development Bank (CariBank), and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados. A total of 14 countries attended, along with a wide range of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including 37 health NGOs, churches, labor unions, consumers' associations, and educational and research organizations.
The conference was opened by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health of Barbados, as well as by the PAHO/WHO Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Countries. Dr. Branka Legetic of the PAHO Chronic Disease team made an opening presentation on CNCDs in the Caribbean: What we know, and IAHF presented Civil Society as an Agent of Change: What Works. Used to accomplish the objectives was a mixture of plenary and small working group sessions addressing advocacy, risk factor reduction (tobacco, diet and physical activity, alcohol consumption), NGO toolkits, scaling up treatment, partnership-building, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). NGOs described a wide range of education and service activities, but there was less activity in advocacy, M&E, or watchdog roles.
There was a high level of enthusiastic participation. In addition, all NGOs completed a profile for a database. There was also a high level of input into the Draft Civil Society Plan tabled at the conference. An agreement was made to establish a Caribbean Coalition against NCDs, and a conference resolution was approved. A small working group under the Chairmanship of Professor Hassell was established as an ad hoc coordinating committee. Plans were also made to set up a website and listserv.
Useful discussions were held with IAHF on present and future collaboration in its role as an NGO in conducting official relations with PAHO, as well as with Rae Barrett of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica on joint research to evaluate existing CNCD program funding mechanisms in the Caribbean.