The workshop, usually of three days duration, was held over two days, due to the HFJ’s pressing commitments. Ten HFJ staff members participated, including the Executive Director, Ms. Deborah Chen; the Senior Manager, Ms. Nola Phillpotts-Brown; the Communications Officer, Ms. Karlene Morrish-Cooke; and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator Project Manager, Ms. Barbara McGaw. Also participating were the Health Promotion, Customer Service, Advocacy, and Business Development Officers, as well as the Nurse Manager and Senior Medical Technician.
Several of the participants had previous experience in the Logical Framework Approach to project design, which formed the basis for most of the workshop presentations and discussions, as well as group work to develop the elements of the HFJ’s draft Action Plan. Jamaica’s National Operational Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Obesity in Children and Adolescents 2016-2020 and the HCC’s Civil Society Action Plan 2017-2021: Prevention of Childhood Obesity in the Caribbean were key reference frameworks for the workshop.
The participants remained actively engaged throughout the workshop, enthusiastically crafting their stakeholder analysis; identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; ensuring that their objectives demonstrated strong means-end relationships; formulating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic, and timebound) indicators; and identifying target audiences, messages, messengers, and channels for advocacy and communication. They also discussed the management of the project in light of HFJ’s many other commitments, which include the provision of clinical cardiology and related services, in addition to its strong advocacy and education functions.
The draft Action Plan formulated by the end of the workshop aims to implement pilot projects in selected primary level schools to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and increase water consumption, building on the HFJ’s existing school-based Healthy Heart Clubs. Discussions were also held on strategies to include disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the interventions. Lessons learned from these pilots will inform the development of recommendations for national guidelines to reduce SSB consumption and increase water consumption in schools, and HFJ will present the recommendations to relevant authorities to facilitate the development of national guidelines and their integration into the National School Nutrition Policy, which is being revised.
The HFJ’s membership in the National Food Industry Task Force (NFITF), which the Minister of Health established in 2017, is seen as a facilitating factor for successful implementation of the Action Plan. The NFITF has been engaging the food industry in Jamaica addressing unhealthy eating habits, and focuses on product reformulation, food labelling, nutrition/health education and promotion, marketing of foods, fiscal policies for reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages, young child nutrition, and healthy government institutions. Also pertinent is the theme of this year’s Heart Month (February), observance of which the HFJ spearheads: “Healthy Nutrition: Know Your Labels”.
The participants’ evaluation of the workshop indicated that they were “very satisfied “with most aspects, including the use of hyperlinks to access additional information and documents during the presentations. However, there were some indications that more time would have been appreciated for deeper consideration of some of the concepts, and for group discussions.
The HCC will continue to work with its member organizations, governments, and partners to address this and other critical issues related to NCD prevention and control.
More images from the workshop.