The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has partnered with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to implement a regional project to develop a framework for Caribbean Moves, an initiative to reduce the high incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The bank says in a release that the project will build on the momentum of ongoing national programmes intended to increase physical activity and healthy eating and curb the high rates of NCDs in the region. Caribbean Moves was launched in Kingston, Jamaica last week and will support health promotion activities in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands building on the successes of similar initiatives in Barbados, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bank has committed in excess of US$175,000 in financial and technical resources to develop Caribbean Moves, and support successful implementation.
“The economic costs of NCDs will not only further burden our countries but also undercut productivity and human capital investments in education and health,” the bank’s vice president, Operations, Isaac Solomon said at the launch on September 14.
“NCDs also result in loss of income increased economic dependence and burden of care within households – the latter generally carried by women – and concurrent lifelong poverty traps,” Solomon pointed out.
“ Failure to address NCDs undermines sustainable development and will also result in vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups being left further behind.”
The Bank’s support of the initiative is a response to these implications and the burden NCDs pose on CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries. Poor health is an antecedent to, and consequence of poverty and there is a high cost of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension in the region.
The Caribbean is on record as having the highest mortality and obesity rates in the Americas, with NCDs accounting for approximately three out of four deaths. These deaths are linked to common modifiable risk factors, including physical inactivity which the Caribbean Moves project will address. The Bank says further that NCDs have also amplified the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, in turn, the pandemic has exacerbated the NCD-burden in the region. This is affecting the governments and the region’s ability to reach set development targets and widen the distance to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is anticipated that Caribbean Moves will enable a Caribbean culture that reflects a more active and healthy society by empowering all people in the Caribbean to be more physically active in their daily lives and to make healthier eating choices.