JIS News

CARICOM representatives attending September’s United Nations (UN) high level meeting on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases are expected to advocate for specific focus on policies to address health risk factors.

These factors include tobacco, alcohol, diet and lack of physical activity. Other areas are the re-engineering of health systems and services, strengthening systems for access to low cost pharmaceuticals and supplies, surveillance and monitoring and evaluation of programmes.

A communiqué from last weekend’s 22nd Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Grand Anse, Grenada, where regional leaders discussed the issue, agreed that these would be their areas of specific focus.

“They committed to convening national consultations, involving a wide range of stakeholders in preparation for the meeting …and ensuring representation of the region at the highest level,” the document stated.

The communiqué said the leaders urged member states to sign the Inter- Ministerial Agreement establishing the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), while committing to providing necessary support for short and medium term activities. These include the requisite advocacy and information activities to sensitise national, regional and international stakeholders.

Support for this initiative has been received from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Public Health Agency of Canada, United Kingdom Department of Health and CARPHA Steering Committee.

The Heads of Government also agreed to endorse the Caribbean Accreditation Agency for Engineering and Technology, as the regional accreditation body for engineering and technology.

“They also emphasised the importance of regional coordination, with regard to the accreditation of programmes and institutions and agreed to sign and ratify the Inter-Governmental Agreement establishing the Regional Accreditation Agency for Education and Training, as a matter of urgency,” the communiqué said.