CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) have strengthened their resolve to improve its Member States’ resilience to climate change and to address the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases.
During a recent courtesy call, the newly appointed CARPHA executive director, Dr Joy St John, met director general of the OECS Commission, Dr Didacus Jules, and discussed areas of cooperation, and ongoing public health projects that benefit the region.
Both organisation heads, are pleased with the prospect of improving regional coordination and resilience for public health emergencies and extreme weather events in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This has been made possible by a grant of USD$30.6 million from the World Bank, to benefit Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that are especially prone to hurricanes, climate change, and non-communicable diseases.
Collaborations between the OECS and CARPHA also focus on the Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco) Project. The five-year multi-focal area regional project financed by Global Environment Fund (GEF), is expected to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance to the sustainability of livelihoods. This will be achieved through the application of existing proven technologies and approaches best suited for Small Island Developing States.
The entities are collaborating on regional surveillance and health information initiatives in the Eastern Caribbean.
CARPHA provides support to the OECS Commission through the assignment of a senior technical officer who works directly with the OECS health unit.
The OECS Commission and CARPHA have also joined forces to implement two projects funded by the World Diabetes Foundation.
The first initiative seeks to promote diabetes awareness and knowledge among the general population and support the adoption of healthy eating habits and physically active lifestyles to reduce diabetes risk among the general population in five OECS countries namely: Antigua, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The objective of the second project is to understand and decrease the risks directly due to natural disaster and the subsequent disruption in healthcare for vulnerable persons with diabetes and other NCDs in six Eastern Caribbean states recently affected by natural disasters – Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, Montserrat and St Kitts and Nevis.
Within the framework of these projects, the regional guidelines for the treatment of diabetes in primary care have been recently updated. A campaign #Commit2Change has been launched across the Eastern Caribbean to promote healthier habits.