Bridgetown, Barbados, 14 June 2023 (PAHO/WHO) - While in Barbados to attend the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Ministerial Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr Jarbas Barbosa, today met with the President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Prof Sir Trevor Hassel and Executive Director, Maisha Hutton, to discuss the work being carried out under a Letter of Agreement with PAHO.
Professor Hassel described the relationship with PAHO as one that directly supports Caribbean Civil Society Organisations in tackling health challenges in this region, especially in the fight against NCDs, the leading cause of premature mortality in the region.
The Director thanked HCC for its work in this area and emphasized that tackling NCDs requires working on all fronts. While agreeing, Prof Hassel and Mrs Hutton emphasized the need for their organizations to work together to create an enabling environment for policymakers to make healthful decisions and the private sector to be a more effective partner. The Director was accompanied by PAHO Caribbean Subregional Program Director, Mr Dean Chambliss and Advisor for NCDs and Mental Health, Dr Gloria Giraldo.
Both leaders agreed on the need for better national data on the economic impact of NCDs to assist in advocacy with evidence.
In recognition of the high burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health in SIDS countries, as well as the impact of climate change coupled with the impact of COVID-19 on health and economies in these particularly vulnerable states, WHO, PAHO and the Government of Barbados are convening ministers from SIDS countries and partner organizations at the SIDS Ministerial Conference to be held on 13–16 June 2023 in Bridgetown, Barbados.