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National Training Workshop on Climate Change Impacts Tools

PRESS RELEASE – Belmopan, Belize; November 24, 2017 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC/5Cs) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration through the National Climate Change Office (NCCO) is hosting a national training on the Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) Portal and Climate Change Impacts Tools. This training workshop is being funded by the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) project. The training will be held over a period of 9 days; the first segment of the training is scheduled for the week of November 27th to December 1st, 2017, while the second segment will be held from January 15th to 18th, 2018 at the George Price Center, Belmopan City, Belize.

Participants of the National Training Workshop, Belize.

The Weather Generator (WG), the Tropical Storm Model / Simple Model for the Advection of Storms and Hurricanes (TSM/SMASH), the Caribbean Drought Assessment Tool (CARiDRO) and accompanying web portal and data sets are specific climate change impacts tools aimed at assisting in the generation of scientific information and analysis to help in making informed decisions along with policy formulation and implementation.

The tools are open source online resources to provide locally relevant and unbiased climate change information that is specific to the Caribbean and relevant to the region’s development. Case studies focused on areas such as drought, agriculture, water resources, coastal zone structures, health (dengue fever), and urban development and flooding were also done to test these tools and information related to these case studies will be shared during the Training along with many other interactive sessions. The integration of the tools into national policy agendas across the region is being spearheaded through regional and country workshops, which are crucial to ensuring effective decision-making and improving climate knowledge and action.

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Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) Tools and Portal

Brief Description

  1.       A weather generator has been developed and tested on present day meteorological station observations in the region and found to produce reasonable simulations of both average and extreme weather properties. This tool provides the basis for weather generator based downscaling, required to generate locally relevant bias corrected weather scenarios for impact studies.
  2.      A new tropical storm model has been developed to provide spatial 15-minute scenarios of rainfall and wind speed over Caribbean islands under various scenarios of track, category, movement speed and historic notable storm. Managers may consider such scenarios as part of hazard management. Case study results suggest that hurricane speed, an under-reported metric, is actually of key importance, and that near-misses may be more hazardous than previously supposed.
  3.     The CARiDRO tool has been developed to assist the evaluation of meteorological and hydrological drought for the Caribbean and Central American regions, for both present day and future climate projections. This tool greatly simplifies standard but complex analyses and automatically generates a number of graphical outputs (e.g. time series plots and maps). This tool will support the agriculture and water resource sectors in their assessment and adaptation to drought hazard. A case study verified the CARiDRO tool identification of a region-wide historic drought, and found that future projections indicated increasing regional drought frequency.

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The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.

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Intensive Training Continues In An Effort To Increase Awareness Of The Impacts Of Climate Change

(L-R) Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with June Hughes, Senior Environment Officer at the Department of Environment,

The Department of Environment recognizes climate variability and climate change to be two of the most significant threats to sustainable development in St. Kitts and Nevis. Against this backdrop, a number of persons from various fields throughout the federation are currently attending an eight day National Training Workshop in the Use of Climate Models for Decision Making.

The workshop, which runs from April 19-28, is held under the auspices of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

June Hughes, Senior Environment Officer at the Department of Environment, said that the training is timely, as climate change continues to be a clear and present danger. She noted that the department is working closely with regional and international partners to ensure that persons are aware of the dangers that exist.

“We in the Department of Environment have been working to raise awareness on the impacts of climate change, while taking advantage of every capacity building opportunity to improve our adaptive response have strengthened our mitigation measures,” she said. “Each training, workshop and meeting strengthens our country to address and reduce the impacts of climate change.”

Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at CCCCC, explained that the workshop would first be rolled out nationally in all 10 countries under the USAID banner, after which regional workshops will be held. He made mention of specific training tools that were developed with the aim of assisting in the generation of scientific information and analysis to help in making informed decisions. These include the Weather Generator (WG), the Tropical Storm Model/ Simple Model for the Advection of Storms and Hurricanes (SMASH), and the Caribbean Drought Assessment Tool (CARiDRO).

“The CARIWIG [Caribbean Weather Impacts Group] tool is a critical tool in that it more or less localizes the projection so that for instance, you can actually look at climate projections for the future in a watershed in St. Kitts and Nevis. It localizes that information and it makes it much more relevant to the local circumstance,” said Dr. Trotz.

The deputy executive director encouraged participants to acquire all the knowledge necessary, as it is the presenters hope that at the end of the training “a cadre of technical skills” would be developed in St. Kitts and Nevis and the region on whole that would help to deal successfully with the challenges faced from climate change.

Training and application of the tools will allow decision-makers to better understand the potential impacts of drought, tropical storms, and rainfall and temperature changes. When combined with other data and information, they can help to build a picture of potential impacts to key economic sectors in the country. The training will target key personnel whose focus are in areas of agriculture, water resources, coastal zone management, health, physical planning or disaster risk reduction.

 Credit: ZIZ Online

Climate Talks: What’s at Stake for the World’s Species

Infographic shows how even under 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, one in 20 species could go extinct, at great cost to economies, health and food.

The golden toad is one of two species that is already considered extinct due to climate change. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Editor’s Note: This infographic is part of the ICN “What’s at Stake” series highlighting the key impacts associated with climate change. See also What’s at Stake for the World’s Coasts.

Warming temperatures, rising seas, ocean acidification, changes to regional weather patterns—nearly every consequence of climate change threatens the world’s 8.7 million species in some way. About half of flora and fauna are already on the move in search of cooler climes. Even keeping global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius—the target for international climate treaty talks—will force many species to the brink of extinction, threatening food supplies, human health, economies and communities. Here is a rundown of just how big an impact climate change could have on the natural world.

Click to enlarge infographic.

Credit: inside climate news

Caribbean environmental experts explore climate change and public health responses

Flooding in Cuba *Photo credits: IPS News

Flooding in Cuba *Photo credits: IPS News

The Caribbean, mainly comprised of small island nations, is the world’s most tourist-dependent region, and one of the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.

Within recent times, the Region has experienced more frequent and severe storms and hurricanes, increases in mosquito-borne diseases, rises in sea level, prolonged periods of drought and salt water intrusion of coastal groundwater sources, which pose a significant threat to human health.

Recognizing the critical need to be more climate change resilient, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), UNEP-Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR-RCU), and the Government of Saint Lucia, will host a Conference to address issues related to climate change and health.

Dr.-James-Hospedales-1024x682

CARPHA Executive Director Dr. James Hospedales said that because Climate Change threatens traditional public health infrastructure, the focus will be on environmental health services.

Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales explained that “climate change threatens traditional public health infrastructure. It will stress environmental health services, such as efforts to respond to severe weather events and disease outbreaks, provide assurance of drinking water safety, and implement vector control measures.

At the same time measures like alternative transport such as biking and walking and rapid mass transport can improve population health, mitigate climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and reduce the import bill for oil.”  He added that the Conference “will bring together government representatives, and regional and international organizations to address issues of public health, environment and socio-economic well-being.”

The meeting, which will be held at the Golden Palm Conference Centre in Saint Lucia, runs from November 18 – 20 November, 2015, and will serve as a platform for information-sharing, and also as a “think tank” for developing innovative, Caribbean-specific solutions to our environmental health and sustainable development challenges.

Agenda items include discussions on preparations for Zika Virus and recent experiences with Chikungunya; food and water security; achievements of the Caribbean Cooperation for Health III; and a Caribbean Environmental Health Officers and Partners Planning Session.

Credit: St. Lucia News Online

The UK to launch Caribbean infrastructure partnership

Source: livemint

Source: livemint

 The English speaking Caribbean is set to benefit from 300 million pounds in grant funding to support infrastructure development.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement in a joint sitting of Jamaica’s parliament on September 30, 2015.

“I’m launching a new UK, Caribbean infrastructure partnership to build real tangible things that will make a difference for people across the Caribbean. Roads, bridges, ports, critical economic infrastructure that will set the foundations for growth and prosperity and in turn reduce poverty while helping the region to become more resilient to the risks of Climate Change. Just think about what this could deliver, hundreds of kilometer of roads to link up vital markets. Bridges to unite remote communities. New energy projects to power growth and vital defenses to protect coastal communities. Let me be clear £300 million is not soft loads, not tide aid. It is cash grants.”

Cameron says Caribbean leaders will decide how to spend the funds. He also announced an additional 60 million pounds in financing.

“Today I can also announce 30 million pounds for new programs to help attract investments and improve governance and 30 million pounds to help make your hospital more resilient to natural disasters. We need to make sure that if a hurricane strikes, crucial health centers can remain operational to treat the wounded and together this represents a quadrupling of Britain support. It will make us the largest donor to the region. It will create jobs and save lives and you can take it literally as a concrete statement of my commitment to the Caribbean.”

The British Prime Minister adds he hopes the Caribbean will make use of US 9 billion in climate adaptation financing that the UK will provide over the next five years.

“We hope this money can help unlock the global climate deal and giving the vulnerability of small island state that face the risk of devastation from climate change, a fair proportion should be sent, I hope will be spent right here supporting some of the UK’s oldest friends to prepare and provide for the future. When I met Caribbean leaders just a few days ago at the United Nations General Assembly. They made it clear to me directly, just how vital the climate deal is to them. So I pledge to work in partnership with them and other like minded states to secure a bold and ambitious deal in Paris later this year.”

Cameron also revealed that the UK will spend £25 million on building a prison in Jamaica so that foreign criminals in the UK can be sent home to serve sentences in the Caribbean.

More than 600 Jamaican nationals are in UK jails but cannot be deported because of Jamaica’s poor prison conditions.

Officials say the foreign aid-funded deal could save taxpayers £10m a year when transfers begin in 2020.

Credit: The Daily Observer

UNEP ‘Our Planet’ 2015 Focuses on SDGs

world

Credit: UNEP

An integrated, universal approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda is essential, according to the 2015 issue of ‘Our Planet,’ a publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner discusses the importance of integration, universality, climate change mitigation, governance and accountability, and financing. He writes that linking the SDGs with climate change mitigation will help countries build energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructure and achieve sustainable development.

In an article by Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President, Palau, he explains that healthy, productive, resilient oceans are critical to preserving and restoring the balance between humans and nature, and ensuring economic prosperity, food security, health and culture, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Remengesau advocates for a stand-alone SDG on oceans, and says Palau’s national conservation efforts must be “amplified and augmented by work at the international level” in order to make a difference.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights should guide the elaboration of the SDGs, writes Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He stresses that human rights, such as the rights to education, food, health and water, are about empowerment, not charity, and underscores the importance of empowering citizens to be involved in crafting and implementing the SDGs. He adds that “universality applies not just to universal application, but also to universal participation and ownership of the goals.”

UK Environmental Audit Select Committee Chair Joan Walley cautions that reducing the number of SDGs “risks relegating environmental sustainability to a side issue,” and could shatter “the carefully negotiated consensus.” She also argues for communicating the goals to the public, particularly youth.

Other articles address: the European Commission’s (EC) energy and climate framework, which will promote a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy; the UN Environment Assembly’s (UNEA) role in moving towards an integrated, universal approach to the SDGs; the role of central banks in shifting towards inclusive, environmentally sustainable development; a carbon pricing system; national accounting systems and inequalities; and chemicals and hazardous substances, among other issues.

The issue also highlights the Montreal Protocol as an “ozone success” and a model for achieving a green economy and the SDGs, achievements by UNEP’s Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), and the UNEP Finance Initiative’s work to align the financial system with a low-carbon, carbon resilient green economy. [Publication: Our Planet: Time for Global Action]

Credit: SIDS Policy & Practice

Tackling climate change as a single SDG could backfire

CAL00368HAT

Image credit: Christian Als / Panos

The best way to deal with climate change is by integrating it into other development goals, says Ilan Kelman.
Climate change is a major challenge — and it sits among many other major challenges targeted by the post-2015 development goals.Biodiversity, health, education, energy and others influence and are influenced by climate change. So goals about them will also mean action on climate change.

Development goals that focus on the root causes of sustainability challenges bring people together; they also minimise the risk that goals will interfere with each other. But highlighting a single environmental driving factor such as climate change can be counter-productive.

Climate change action is usually separated into two categories, despite continual calls for merging them. The first is mitigation, which refers to reducing emissions and increasing the removal of greenhouse gases. The second is adaptation, which means reducing climate changes adverse impacts and exploiting its positive impacts.Several of the currently proposed Sustainable Development Goals, outside of Goal 13 on climate change, already address both mitigation and adaptation.
Mitigation connections
By design, mitigation is addressed through Goals 7 on energy, 12 and 14 on resources, and 15 on land use, among others. Achieving sustainable resource management and preventing pollution necessarily means reducing fossil fuel dependency while increasing energy efficiency. And a goal to reduce all pollution, by definition, tackles greenhouse gases.Within pollution-prevention goals (such as 6 and 14), quantitative targets could be developed for a long list of specific emissions, including those associated with climate change. Having a goal that selects only one, such as carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent, excludes many persistent organic pollutants and smog contributors.Similarly, growing and protecting trees is important for mitigation. Butconsidering all ecosystems together — as done by the goals on water, resources and land use — is more effective because it gives people sustainable livelihoods based on using natural resources without harming ecosystems. That addresses the root causes of sustainability problems and must necessarily achieve mitigation without excluding people or sacrificing other ecosystems for forests.
Adaptation predates climate concern
Adaptation involves actions such as managing waterways to avoid extreme floods and droughts, protecting built heritage sites against freezethaw cycles and helping people who cannot afford temperature control inside their homes to survive hot and cold spells. Such actions are needed irrespective of climate change.

“If development goals aim for adaptation only, without aiming for disaster risk reduction across all hazards, then resilience cannot be achieved.”

IIan Kelman 

And such actions were indeed being implemented — as part of disaster risk reduction for all hazards — long before climate change became a major concern. If goals seek reduced disaster risk across all hazards, including climate-related ones, then adaptation is incorporated by definition.

For instance, rather than proposed Goal 13.1 being to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate induced hazards and natural disasters in all countries, it could say strengthen disaster risk reduction in all countries. If development goals aim for adaptation only, without aiming for disaster risk reduction across all hazards, then resilience cannot be achieved.

What does this mean in practical terms? Hospitals ought to be built outside floodplains that are likely to expand due to climate change. But they could still collapse in the next earthquake — so they should be multi-hazard resilient, not just adapted to climate change. That requires goals encompassing, but extending beyond, adaptation.

Failing in Haiti

Are these concerns visible in reality? In a forthcoming paper, GodfreyBaldacchino and I use Haiti as an example of a climate change focus nationally and internationally failing to address underlying sustainability concerns. [1]

Before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti had prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action for the UN and created a climate change division within the Ministry of the Environment. We can never know whether this focus on climate change distracted from preparedness for other hazards such as earthquakes.

But we do know that Haitis underdevelopment, and the exploitation of its people and natural resources by external powers, led to systemic, engrained disaster risk — including from climate-related hazards and hazard drivers. Poor governance, poverty, inequity and lack of livelihood choices contributed to that risk. We also know that solving chronic political problems of resource sharing, power relations and corruption could support disaster risk reduction, including adaptation.

How does this happen? When people have the power and resources to collaborate within their community, become involved in political and decision-making processes, and make their own life and livelihood choices, they often start calling for and implementing disaster risk reduction measures. Haiti has never been given that chance.

Conversely, mitigation and adaptation can contribute to development and sustainability, but never give the complete picture. They do not have to address the full range of drivers that fuel poverty, such as power relations and inequity. It would be just as counterproductive to aim to make Haiti entirely earthquake-resistant without considering climate change.

Integration not isolation

We could write development goals for every hazard and hazard driver. But that detracts from goals supporting sustainability irrespective of any hazard or hazard driver.

Isolating climate change, making it a field unto itself with goals unto itself, can backfire by neglecting wider sustainability topics.

Placing climate change within the wider contexts of disaster, development and sustainability will tackle both adaptation and mitigation, but not at the expense of other concerns. No sector should neglect climate change and no sector should be dominated by climate change.

Ilan Kelman is a reader in risk, resilience and global health at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and the Institute for Global Health, University College London, United Kingdom. He can be contacted viahttp://www.ilankelman.org/contact.html and @IlanKelman

Credit: SciDev.net

Jamaica to host Youth Climate Change Conference

Youth Climate Change Conference

Youth Climate Change Conference

The USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project is hosting a mock United Nations-style assembly on climate change at the inaugural Youth Climate Change Conference in Kingston, Jamaica on September 14, 2014.
Themed, "One Climate, One Future...Empowering Youth for Action" high school delegates will deliberate on the availability, access, and quality of water in Jamaica, a relevant and timely issue considering the country's current drought condition.
The assembly will discuss the rights and use of water across Jamaica's social and economic sectors, focusing on tourism, agriculture and fisheries, manufacturing and industry, health and recreation, and the environment. The deliberations will be collated to formulate a youth position on risk management strategies and actions for sustainable use of the resource in the face of a changing climate.
The conference will also incorporate a poster competition, exhibit of climate information, water conservation and clean technology solutions display, a concert and a fashion show.

5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting:

Expanded partnerships with CARPHA and CDB, new facility and enhanced institutional capacity announced

Belmopan, Belize July 26, 2014― The Board of Governors of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre concluded its annual meeting (July 24 -26) in Belize City today.  Among the key decisions taken, the Centre has been charged to deepen a range of partnerships, including the expansion of its collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA, which includes the former CEHI ), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and other agencies. The Board also approved plans for institutional strengthening, including pursuing a not-for-profit status to enable greater resource mobilization to address climate variability and change; entering bilateral discussions for the establishment of a new multi-purpose facility, strengthening coordination among regional negotiators and revising the management mechanism for an independent Trust Fund.

Following a special presentation to the Board of Governors by Dr. C.J Hospedales, CARPHA’s Executive Director, the Centre committed to deepen collaboration with the region’s premier health agency. The two entities are expected to collaborate immediately after the Board of Governors Meeting to develop joint proposals aimed at reducing the region’s vulnerability and  building  resilience to the likely effects of climate change. Further, the Board noted that the Centre has been working with CARPHA to broaden the regional  focus on climate change and health, as a vital element of the Caribbean’s sustainable development thrust.

The Board notes that  Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are essential to advance the Centre’s multi-pronged approach to building climate resilience in the region. Citing the success of the Centre’s PPP oriented pilot projects, including  the installation of  reverse osmosis desalination facilities  in Bequia, Petit Martinique and Cariacou to improve access to potable water, which is being replicated across the region and resulting in increased demand for the Centre’s services, Chairman of the Board, Dr. Leonard Nurse says the Centre will pursue a similar approach for the continued rollout of the  Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL). CCORAL, which was launched by the Centre in July 2013, is an online support tool developed to support climate resilient decision-making processes across sectors in the Caribbean by embedding a risk ethic, has been endorsed by regional and international partners – including the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. The Centre will therefore work with the CDB, its longstanding partner and a permanent member of the 11 member Board of Governors, to mobilise private sector support for the tool.

The Centre has expanded rapidly since it commenced operations in 2005, having developed the capacity to successfully execute a suite of regional climate change related programmes worth between US$40 and US$50 million over the last five years. Accordingly, the Centre will implement a €12.8 million project later this year to address ecosystems-based adaptation under an agreement with the German Development Bank (KfW). The KfW supported engagement seeks to protect the region’s extensive coastal resources through a combination of ecosystems-based adaptation and environmental engineering approaches that will also embed livelihood considerations as a core element of the programme.   The comprehensive investment under the initiative developed by the Centre, in conjunction with the KfW, will focus on enhancing the resilience of the region’s coastal resources to the impacts of climate change and climate variability.

Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie says the Centre, under a directive from CARICOM Heads, has been “working with national governments to put together programmes that would help them develop bankable projects that can be funded under the various mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Centre is putting maximum effort to ensure CARICOM Member States get their fair share of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and other funds to help them in their adaptation efforts. That is our primary thrust— to meet the mandate given to us by the regional Heads.”

Accordingly, the Centre has applied to be a regional implementing entity for the Adaptation Fund, and is strengthening its capacity by establishing a Monitoring and Evaluation Unit to better prepare it to function as an implementing agency with the requisite technical capacity to institute projects on par with international organizations operating in the region. The new Unit will also advance the Centre’s capacity to advise and help governments develop, monitor and evaluate programmes in accordance with its mandate as the region’s key node of information and action on climate change. Following decisions taken at last year’s Board of Governors meeting, the Board has strengthened its fiduciary oversight through a Finance and Audit Sub-Committee of the Board of Governors, an internal auditor for the Centre and increased focus on data and plant security.

Dr. Nurse says these changes are necessary given the Centre’s shift from a project-based orientation to more programmatic activities in a bid to ensure its long-term sustainability . He notes that the Centre, which is primarily funded through grants and not government subventions, is advancing efforts to set up a Trust Fund. The Fund, which has been seeded with US$1M from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, will be an independent arrangement administrated by the CDB that would allow the Centre to co-finance projects and fund project priorities over the long-term.

To meet the emerging challenges and demonstrate its commitment towards a low carbon development pathway, the Board also approved plans to pursue the construction of its own facilities to carry out is operations. The Centre is currently housed in rented facilities provided by the Government of  Belize. The Government of Belize has already allocated 10 acres of land to the Centre, on which a custom-designed, ‘green’ facility will be constructed. The Centre  is in the process of seeking financing to undertake  this initiative.

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The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.

It’s Caribbean Public Health Day!

CARPHA

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has declared today July 2nd, Caribbean Public Health Day.

Watch the Caribbean Public Health Day message from the Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales.

The celebration of Caribbean Public Health Day on July 2 coincides with the anniversary of the legal establishment of CARPHA, which makes it an opportune time to highlight the work of the Agency, sensitize Caribbean people about the importance of public health and the contribution it can make to the socio-economic development of the Region.  For this reason, CARPHA has decided to mark July 2nd, with effect from this year, Caribbean Public Health Day.

We encourage you to listen to the Message and also to share it with persons in your networks as we celebrate the inaugural Caribbean Public Health Day!

Caribbean countries led the world to the historic UN High Level meeting in New York in 2011 resulting in a Declaration to prevent and control NCDs.  It is expected that this leadership will again be shown at the Meeting to address the global threat of NCDs from July 10 -11, 2014.

PUBLIC HEALTH DAY MESSAGE OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CARPHA, DR. C. JAMES HOSPEDALES 

“ADD LIFE TO YOUR LIFE” ON CARIBBEAN PUBLIC HEALTH DAY  
Follow CARPHA at #addLife
Like CARPHA on Facebook
Message: Text

Good day.

As Executive Director of the newest international public health agency of the 21st century – CARPHA – the importance of public health is succinctly summed up in the words of our slogan – Preventing disease, promoting and protecting health.  Indeed, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, is committed to promoting a healthier, more productive Caribbean population in cleaner and greener environments. The work of CARPHA advances the public health of the Region in several ways, including monitoring health and disease spread and responding to emergencies, laboratory services, nutrition and food security, health research, environmental health and pharmaceutical quality.

However, within recent times, the scourge of non-communicable diseases, also known as NCDs, such as obesity, stroke, cancers, heart disease and diabetes, along with risks such as tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, and poor diet and physical inactivity, has presented a clear and present danger to our health and economies, right here in the Region.

The sobering reality is, that NCDs are now the leading cause of premature deaths, accounting for nearly half the deaths of persons under 70 years, and two out of three deaths overall in the Caribbean.

In addition, this Region has one of the highest rates of obesity in children and adults in the world.

Recent studies throughout the Caribbean show over 25 per cent of adolescents as being overweight or obese.  This is mainly due to poor diets and lack of physical activity, driven by profound changes in the way we live and play, with massive marketing of foods high in sugar, fats and salt; as well as several hours per day spent watching TV and playing video games.

In fact, the vast majority of the people do not get five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which protect against high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Despite the alarming nature of all this evidence, there is also a positive side to NCDs: most of them are caused by modifiable risk factors.  In other words, if we control the risk factors leading to NCDs, we can prevent some 80 per cent of all heart attacks, strokes and Type II diabetes, as well as 40 per cent of cancers.  This will greatly benefit the economy also.

The modifiable risk factors are mostly known to all of us.  They include tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol. Other intermediate risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and obesity.

To address this health scourge and to promote healthy living, CARPHA declares, today, July 2nd, Caribbean Public Health Day.

Please allow me to take the opportunity today, to publicly thank our public health nurses, environmental health officers, dieticians and nutritionists, health educators and other public health professionals who work tirelessly in the communities educating and assisting persons to adopt a healthy lifestyle, so that they can successfully reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases.

On this day, Caribbean Public Health Day, we urge you to Add Life to Your Life and reverse the NCD trend.  Start today, by making at least one lifestyle change.  Add life by:

  • Walking 30 minutes a day; it can halve your risk of heart attack
  • Reduce your salt intake to reduce your risk of hypertension
  • Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to reduce your risk of hypertension, heart disease and cancer
  • Don’t smoke to reduce your risk of cancer and wrinkles and save money
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption 
  • If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, stay on your medications to avoid complications like heart attacks, stroke, and kidney failure

Recognizing that “The Health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region”, CARPHA encourages you to join with us in demonstrating your firm commitment to improving the quality of your own life and that of our families, so we move towards more healthy people in healthy spaces, and reduce the preventable health costs to families, businesses and governments.

I thank you.

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