Healthy Bahamas Coalition

by HCC
Status as at September 2023 Active
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Country Bahamas
Name Healthy Bahamas Coalition
Status as at September 2023 Active
Date of establishment -
Date of first meeting Thursday, 9th September, 2015
Date of last meeting Thursday, 22nd July, 2021
Number of meetings over past 12 months The HBC Meets each quarter for ‘Core Committee Meetings” as well as once per year for the “Annual General Meeting”.
Chairperson’s name Dr. Phillip Swann
Title Chairman
Organisational affiliation Ministry of Health (Presidential/Prime Ministerial/Cabinet decree)
Duration of tenure 3 years (renewable - appointed Jul 2016)
Legal authority/reference Established by the Cabinet of the Government of The Bahamas
Location(sector/entity) Ministry of Health
Mandate/Scope of work
  • Providing advice to government on NCD legislation/policy/regulations/programmes,
  • Advocacy,
  • Monitoring and evaluation,
  • Health promotion,
  • Communicating for health
Terms of reference Terms of Reference exist for each component and arm of the Healthy Bahamas Coalition
Conflict of interest policy Yes. The HBC does not accept nor receive support from any entity that trades in or promotes products that are part of the NCD risk profile.
Code of ethics No
Standard operating procedures Yes. Included in establishment document.
NNCDC strategic plan/plan of action
Duration of strategy of plan of action
The HBC operates under the guidance of a Coalition Strategic Work Plan. A draft National NCD Strategic Plan has been developed in concert with the Ministry of Health, PAHO and other in-country partners and stakeholders. 2017-2022
Decision-making process (consensus, majority, other) Consensus
Membership and Personnel 40-60 members.
Government sector membership and level of representation
  • Agriculture,
  • Education,
  • Finance,
  • Foreign Affairs,
  • Health,
  • Social Services,
  • Other: Labour and National Insurance,
  • Public Service,
  • Transport & Aviation,
  • Tourism,
  • Works
Note: The preceding have variable levels of interaction with the HBC, but have all responded to a formal invitation to be and have participated as partners in the work.
Civil society membership and level of representation
  • Bahamas Atlantic Region Commonwealth Nurses & Midwives Federation;
  • Bahamas Christian Council;
  • Bahamas Communications & Public Officers Union;
  • Bahamas Dental Association;
  • Bahamas Insurers Association;
  • Bahamas Medical Association;
  • Bahamas Nurses Association;
  • Bahamas Pharmacy Association;
  • Cancer Society of The Bahamas;
  • Sister/Sister Breast Cancer Support Group;
  • Southern Bahamas Conference of Seventh Day Adventists;
  • Women’s Crisis Centre.
Note: The preceding have variable levels of interaction with the HBC, but have all registered as partners in the work.
Private sector membership and level of representation
  • A Healthy Difference - Nutrition Consultants;
  • Bahamas Chamber of Commerce & Employers Confederation;
  • Bahamas Electricity Corporation;
  • Central Bank of The Bahamas;
  • Commonwealth Bank;
  • Doctors Hospital Health Systems;
  • Elite Fitness Consultants;
  • Handling Your Health Wellness & Rehab;
Royal Bank of Canada; Scotia Bank Bahamas.
Academia Southern College; University of The Bahamas.
Ex officio members Deputy Chairpersons and Executive Secretary (Lead of the HBC Secretariat).
Secretariat exists? If so, please give date of establishment Yes. 1st July, 2016
Resources The HBC gets resources from the Ministry of Health. The HBC has its own established Secretariat with dedicated staff. The present structure can accommodate fifteen persons. Six persons are presently engaged.
Full-time human resources/functions Yes (Six Secretariat Staff)
Part-time human resources/functions Yes (Chairman, Deputy Chairperson and SubCommittee Leads)
Main functions (advisory, accountability, strategic planning, project/programme implementation, other) Advisory; Strategic Planning; Development of Community-based health promotion and management programmes; Programme implementation; Advocacy; Awareness campaigns; Promotion and recommendation of standards and guidelines
Main areas of interventions for NCDs and NCD risk factors Management of hypertension and diabetes by patient and loved ones; Promotion of older persons health; Mental Health; Alcohol consumption reduction; Tobacco cessation; Promotion of cancer screening guidelines; Nutrition; Weightloss; Physical Activity Guidelines; Violence and Injury prevention
Other health issues that the NCD/Wellness Commission /Wellness Coordinating Mechanism addresses -
  • Is there integration – structural or functional, with other health-related Commissions, such as HIV Commissions?
  • If so, to what extent? Fully? To a large extent? To some extent?
There is a working relationship with partnership in supporting Mental Health awareness and treatment options – though no formalized mechanism has been crafted. A similar relationship is being explored with the National Council for Older Persons.
Framework(s) of reference (national policy, strategy or plan; international plans/strategies) At present, the HBC operates according to its internal Strategic Workplan -2016-2018. The ideal is to operate against the National NCD Strategic Workplan (with which there is some overlap) once it has been finally approved.
Focus of interventions (legislation, taxation, policy development, project/programme development, project/programme implementation, capacity building, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, other) Training of Tobacco Cessation Counsellors; Advancing physical activity guidelines; promotion of cancer screening guidelines; Development of community-based training.
Work groups/subcommittees/task forces and their functions There are twelve SubCommittee, each committed to the pursuit and fulfilment of their stated goals and objectives in the HBC 206-208 Strategic WorkPlan.
Accountability mechanisms (periodicity of monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and to whom; financial accountability mechanisms) Annual Programme Report; Budget submission for Government Funding; Key points prepared for the Minister of Health’s Budget contribution.
Main successes
  • Establishment and sustained operation of the NNDC
  • Supported the development of a national NCD Strategic Plan
  • Protocols for community screening of hypertension – especially in long-term residential care facilities
  • Healthy Workplace Initiative and Healthy Schools Initiative
  • National Physical Activity Guidelines
Success factors
  • Composition and membership
  • Established funded Secretariat
  • Close working relationship, support and partnership with PAHO
  • Dedication and passion of membership to tasks identified – common purpose
  • Were there any successes due mainly to the participation of non-health sectors in the Commission?
  • If yes, please summarize, highlighting the role played by the non-health sector(s)
  • Hosting of Obstacle Course Fun Day in December 2016 facilitated mainly by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. The RBDF erected an obstacle course using its Officers and engaged its Rangers (junior branch made of high-school students) to participate.
  • Hosting of the launch of the Healthy Bahamas Coalition supported by reduced assessment of costs by the University of The Bahamas.
  • Hosting of weekly exercise sessions by the RBDF Officers. Weekly exercise sessions were hosted by RBDF Officers on Saturday mornings at 7am at Arawak Cay for enrollees in the 1st Annual Weightloss & Fitness Challenge from June – August 2017
Main challenges
  • Competition with other health challenges
  • Lack of authority to seek independent funding sources
  • Prioritization of NCDs in the national health agenda compared with other challenges – natural disasters and COVID pandemic
  • Changes in health leadership in the public sector – at both administrative and technical levels
How were these challenges overcome? Specifically:
  • Did changes in administration disrupt the Commission’s functioning?
  • If yes, what were these changes and their effects?
  • If no, how was continuity of function maintained? What steps were taken?
  • Continues advocacy where possible
  • Strategic partnerships and conversations
  • Avenues to finance initiatives through arrangements and direct payments to vendors
  • Weaving NCD priorities in the national disaster response
Partnerships, technical cooperation (TC) – please summarize partners and relevant TC areas None
Main source(s) of funding and approximate percentage of funding from each source Cabinet approved item in Ministry of Health’s budget (90%); PAHO country funds (10%). Stipends are paid to Leadership roles in the HBC.
Indicative annual budget (USD) Undisclosed
Resource mobilisation, main areas Technical assistance is provided through the work of various members of the approximately one hundred members of Core Committee of the HBC. Additional funds are being sought through donations and targeted funding for specific projects and programmes developed by the SubCommittees.
Mechanisms for sustainability
  • Cabinet conclusion (Funding was included as part of the Cabinet Conclusion that established the Healthy Bahamas Coalition)
  • HBC/NNCDC written into the national NCD Strategic Implementation Plan 2017-2022
  • Terms of Reference
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Mandated Annual Reports
  • Inclusion in MOH budget
More information on the Healthy Bahamas Coalition is found on its Facebook page – Healthybahamascoalition as well as on its website –  Direct contact with the HBC can be made through its website or at
Status as at December 2021 Active
Develop and implement a comprehensive mental health plan that complies with international human rights instruments,
includes allocated human and financial resources, and undergoes regular monitoring against indicators or targets for implementation
Decriminalize suicide, suicide attempts and other acts of self-harm -
Increase public awareness about mental health and how to stop discrimination through campaigns that involve
individuals living with mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities
Promoted/ Currently Promoting: Date: September 26th, 2017
Introduce brief interventions for hazardous substance use -
Advocate with other sectors such as housing, education, social welfare etc for the support of people with mental disorders
and psychosocial disabilities
Does the NNCDC structure include a position for a youth representative? -
Is the NNCDC connected to other organizations that prioritize youth engagement? -
Has the NNCDC utilized social media campaigns to target youth? -

Reduced affordability of tobacco products by increasing tobacco excise taxes and prices -
Protect people from tobacco smoke by creating, by law, implementing completely smoke-free environments in all indoor workplaces, public places, and public transport -
Warn individuals of the dangers of tobacco and tobacco smoke through effective health warnings and mass media campaigns Promoted/Currently Promoted:
  • Breathe Free Initiative: a 6-week programme to assist individuals that desire to quit smoking in collaboration with Tobacco Cessation and Control subcontractors and Bahamas Seventh Day Adventist (May 2018 & Oct 2018)
Implement and enforce bans on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship -
Ban the sale of tobacco to minors NA
Support plain packaging and pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages -
Implement measures to minimize illicit trade in tobacco products -
Assess the usage and impact of e-cigarettes, and develop appropriate control measures if indicated, including through legislation and regulations for tobacco control -
Raise public awareness of physical inactivity through mass media public spaces and other programmes Promoted/Currently Promoting:
  • The Ministry of Health's Healthy Bahamas Coalition launched their Let's Move Initiative: Reducing Childhood Obesity project at Stephen Dillet Primary School in January 2020.
Develop population-based, age-specific guidelines on physical activity. -
Advocate for the design of public spaces that are supportive of physical activity. -
Reduce salt intake and salt content of food Promoted/Currently Promoting:
Replace trans fats with unsaturated fat Promoted/Currently Promoting:
Raise public awareness of unhealthy diet through mass media and other programmes Promoted/Currently Promoting:
Place taxes on sugar sweetened beverages Promoted/Currently Promoting:
Implement nutritional labelling policies which promote consumption of healthier foods and beverages Promoted/Currently Promoting:
  • Now More than Ever: Better Labels, Better Choices, Better Health: with the Cancer Society of the Bahamas and several other CSOs in the Caribbean. The aim of this campaign was to raise awareness about the impact of childhood overweight and obesity and the regional NCD epidemic, while promoting children’s right to nutritious foods and mobilising public and policymaker support for the adoption of the octagon shaped warning labels on the front of packaged foods as the best way to help Caribbean citizens identify products that are high in sugars, fats and salt.
    Campaign Duration: March 15th-April 30th, 2021.
Develop and implement school policies which restrict the availability of unhealthy foods and beverages within schools and their surroundings Promoted/Currently Promoting: The specific aim of this project was to advocate for national policy to ban the sale and availability of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) in and around schools in the Bahamas. This policy was implemented on 1st December, 2019.
Link to government press release.
Raise excise taxes on alcoholic beverages -
Regulate commercial and public availability of alcohol -
Enforce restrictions or bans on alcohol promotion and advertising -
Collaborate with NGOs and Ministry of Transport to educate the public on the harmful use of alcohol -
Advocate for the introduction of breathalyser testing NA
Improve housing conditions and ensure access to clean energy sources for indoor cooking, heating and lighting -
Create awareness and develop appropriate strategies to reduce exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke in households -
Phase out health-harmful subsidies for fossil fuels and polluting industries and introduce penalties for polluters and/or taxes on pollution -
Include air quality measures in urban, rural and transport planning at city, regional and national level, including measures to encourage modal shift and active mobility, noting the additional benefits to health, wellbeing, and reduction of health inequalities -
Adopt and strictly enforce emissions standards for all pollutants in all relevant sectors, including industry, energy, transport, waste, and agricultures -