Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 13 December, 2023: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental health issues are the primary causes of death and disability globally. Prevention through addressing risk factors like tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diets is crucial to mitigating their long-term health impacts.
In a ground-breaking initiative to combat the rising challenge of these diseases, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday 11 December 2023, solidifying their commitment to a joint partnership aimed at assessing and addressing the health needs of populations in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
The agreement between NTU and CARPHA focuses on a collaborative effort to assess Non-communicable diseases and its associated risk factors. The MOU was signed by Cillian Ryan, Pro Vice-Chancellor for International and Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director, CARPHA.
Since it was legally established in 2011, CARPHA is the sole regional public health agency for the CARICOM region. Its mission is to strategically address regional public health priorities and focuses on disease prevention, health promotion, and emergency response.
Dr Ian Varley, NTU’s Project Lead, said “It’s fantastic to collaborate with CARPHA on a project of this nature. The agreement formalises the strong relationship that Nottingham Trent University and CARPHA have established in mitigating the impact of NCDs in both the UK and Caribbean region. The collaboration represents a comprehensive approach that combines research, education, and practical strategies for addressing NCDs.”
Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director stated the significance of this initiative: “Non-communicable diseases continue to be a major public health and economic burden for the Caribbean region, accounting for more than 65% of all deaths. This partnership will go a long way in supporting policies, programmes and practices geared at helping Caribbean people to engage in health promoting behaviours”.
The primary objectives of this partnership include:
Knowledge Exchange and Collaboration to identify key challenges and solutions to the current and future health of adults in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
Grant Applications and Proposals related to NCDs and associated risk factors in both regions, leveraging their combined expertise to address pressing public health issues.
Information Dissemination related to NCDs and associated risk factors in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom, ensuring that valuable insights reach the wider public.
The collaboration between NTU and CARPHA will encompass the following key areas:
Capacity Building: Focusing on research expertise in NCDs in the Caribbean, with an emphasis on the youth and their health needs.
Knowledge Sharing and Translation: Facilitating the exchange of information and translating research findings into actionable public health interventions and policies.
Policy Development and Evaluation: Evaluating the effectiveness of existing NCD policies and proposing evidence-based recommendations for informed decision-making.
Behavioural Science Research: Exploring behavioural aspects related to NCDs, including factors influencing dietary choices, exercise habits, and adherence to medical treatments.
Health Education and Promotion: Developing evidence-based health education programs and campaigns to raise awareness about NCDs, their prevention, and management.
This strategic collaboration marks a significant step forward in the global effort to address the challenges posed by NCDs, with NTU and CARPHA leading the way in fostering research, innovation, and evidence-based solutions for the benefit of public health.
Executive Director, CARPHA – Dr Joy St. John signs agreement between CARPHA and Nottingham Trent University, to tackle NCDs
NTU Project Lead, Dr Ian Varley (Centre), with fellow NTU researchers Dr Philip Hennis (Left) and Dr Ruth James (Right).