Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 26 November, 2021. In the Caribbean, one in every five men and one in every six women have a probability of dying between 30-70 years from Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). In light of this, strengthening regional surveillance, monitoring and reporting of NCDs, including risk factors, policies and programmes in the Caribbean, is critical and the way forward.
On Thursday 25 November, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) convened a virtual Regional Stakeholders Consultation on the formulation of a Regional Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) Surveillance System for the Caribbean. CARPHA Executive Director, Dr. Joy St. John emphasized the importance of this initiative, “Surveillance of NCDs is a critical component of any comprehensive NCD prevention and control response, for at the core of public health surveillance is the information for action. Surveillance and monitoring of non-communicable disease health determinants, risk factors, morbidity and mortality are essential public health functions.”
PAHO Subregional Programme Coordinator, Mr. Dean Chambliss stated similar sentiments, “The proposed surveillance system will ensure that we keep track of mortality data, improving knowledge of the impact caused by NCDs. Additionally, the system will assist in obtaining critical information from healthcare facilities to assist with treatment and control of NCDs. PAHO is committed to working with Caribbean Member States to build and improve capacity for the reduction of NCDs in the Caribbean.”
Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Regional Director, Mr Philippe La Cognata reiterated the commitment of the AFD, “At the Atlantic Ocean regional Directorate, we believe it is urgent to find sustainable solutions together, to efficiently address common health and development challenges in the Caribbean. AFD has committed EUR 250M in 2020 in the health sector in the Caribbean… We consider CARPHA to be a major player in the region regarding public health issues. With 26 member states, it is indeed at the forefront of public health regional cooperation.”
Participants from 14 CARPHA Member States, CARICOM, Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others were provided with an overview of the proposed Regional Integrated Surveillance System Strategy. CARPHA also shared results and key findings of the assessment of NCD Surveillance Systems in select CARPHA Member States before holding discussions to reach a consensus on the Regional NCD Surveillance System.
Note: With funding from the AFD, this is an ongoing body of work from January 2020 to September 2022 under the project “Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to Prevent and Control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean”.