PAHO hosts Caribbean Health Promotion Workshop
August 10, 2007
PAHO hosts Caribbean Health Promotion Workshop

Eleven countries from across the region convened in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from July 30th to August 3rd for the Caribbean Health Promotion Workshop.

The workshop, sponsored by The Pan American Heath Organisation (PAHO) sought to improve the Caribbean’s health promotion capacity and practice and also reviewed the Caribbean Charter for Health Promotion that was developed in 1993.{{more}}

Dr Alafia Samuels, who chaired the workshop spoke to the SEARCHLIGHT and explained that this workshop involves the focal points for health education, who are reviewing the implementation of the policy.

She added that the policy is a basic template, which each country would apply in accordance with their needs.

Dr Samuels emphasised that the workshop held was in anticipation of the Caribbean Heads of Government Conference that will be held on September 15th in Trinidad.

PAHO representative Dr. Patricia “Kitty” Israel told SEARCHLIGHT that this workshop is critical to the health of the region, because of the problems that are prominent within it, especially non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and hypertension.

She said that while there are many aspects to the charter, their focus right now is to change public policy, change behaviour and educate and engage the public about health and healthy eating. They hope to address lifestyle changes that are not conducive to healthy living, such as lack of exercise and unhealthy eating among other things, and to identify the best practices that worked in the different countries that could be adopted and adapted to all countries.

Social Communications consultant Clare Forrester suggested that there perhaps needs to be more incentive for healthier eating, because Caribbean people are so used to eating starchy foods like ground provision without considering the natural sugars in the food and the direct impact they have on their lives.

The workshop was held at Grenadine House at Kingstown Park. Some of the countries involved are Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago. (VM)