On Saturday February 3rd, 2018 the Grenada National NCD Commission (NNCDC) held a 1-day retreat to revise the NNCDC Terms of Reference and to produce a 2-year action plan to guide their work in support of the Grenada National Action Plan for the Prevention of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases.
The retreat was led by NNCDC Chair Dr. Damian Greaves who assumed the post in 2017 following, interim Chair Dr. Sonia Nixon, NCD Focal point who assumed the position after the departure of the previous longstanding Chair, Dr. Omowale Amuleru-Marshall. The retreat was held at the St. George’s University, where the commission has had its home for many years. SGU Provost Dr. Joseph Childers underscored the institution’s support and commitment to the NNCDC in his opening remarks. In his keynote address, Sir Trevor Hassell, Chair of the Barbados National NCD Commission and HCC President, stressed that the Grenada NNCDC has been a priority for the HCC since 2015 when HCC launched the COMSEC funded National NCD Commissions Strengthening Project.
Three years later the Grenada National NCD Commission has benefited from a series of technical assistance visits, it is a member of the Virtual Network of CARICOM NNCDC Chairs,and recently visited Barbados for a 2-day Observershipwith the Barbados National NCD Commission.
Sir Trevor pledged continued technical support as demonstrated by the presence of the himself and HCC executive director at the 1-day retreat. The Hon. Nickolas Steele, Minister for Health, Social Security and International Business, attended the retreat and stressed the importance of the NNCDC as a mechanism to address NCDs, against the background of the growing health crisis. He remarked that health was among the top 3 priorities of Grenadians and urged a shift in the collective approach to NCD prevention to one more focussed on policy implementation across all sectors. Also in attendance was Dr. Sonia Nixon who led the action planning process to ensure the work of the commission complemented and supported the national response.
Specially invited guest, Dr. Owen Gabriel, Chair of the recently revitalised St.Lucia National NCD Commission shared his experiences in St. Lucia and called for NNCDCs to be more action-oriented, policy implementing bodies. At the end of the retreat, after a day of deliberation by commission members (including local health NGOs) and other key stakeholders, there were two tangible outputs: a reshaped TOR and a draft 2 year action plan – both of which the Commission will now finalise over the next few weeks.
Upon reflection of the day and the outputs Dr. Greaves commented:
The retreat provided much needed impetus and direction to its membership, who participated enthusiastically, enabling the Commission to meet its objectives of re-visiting the Commission’s Terms of Reference and formulating its Action Plan. Special commendations must go to Dr. Owen Gabriel, Chair of the Saint Lucia Chronic Diseases Commission for his attendance and his insightful commentary on the Saint Lucian experience and to Sir Trevor Hassell and Maisha Hutton of the HCC for guidance, assistance and perceptive contributions
Watch a recording of the retreat here.