June 26-27, 2018, political leaders in Guyana, including Hon. Moses V. Nagamootoo, Prime Minister and First Vice-President; Hon Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence; and Minister in the Ministry of Public Health, Hon. Dr. Karen Cummings – have galvanised around the Guyana Presidential National NCD Commission, committing their full support to its success. Guyana demonstrated significant commitment to a multlisectoral NCD response by establishing the only Presidential National NCD Commission (NNCDC) in the Caribbean.
The Commission was initially established in 2014 and re-established in 2017 after a change of administration. The PAHO Guyana office is working with the Ministry of Public Health to provide technical assistance and capacity building to the NNCDC.
In June 2018, with the support of the Guyana PAHO Country Office, the HCC hosted members of the Guyana National NCD Commission for a 2 day Study Tour aimed at learning more about the experiences of the Barbados National NCD Commission. The Guyana team consisted of: Dr. Shamdeo Persaud (CMO Ministry of Health Guyana), Dr. Kavita Singh (NCD focal point Guyana MOH); Delicia Haynes; and Dr. Karen Roberts (Specialist, Non-Communicable Diseases and Family Health, PAHO).
This is part of HCC’s larger effort to support the strengthening of the multisectoral response to NCDs in the region through support to these multisectoral platforms mandated through the 2007 Port of Spain Declaration. Both the St. Lucia and the Grenada NCD Commissions have undertaken similar exchanges to visit the Barbados National NCD Commission which has been chaired by Sir Trevor Hassell since its formation in 2007, and in this time has held 100+ meetings and enjoyed uninterrupted tenure.
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.
The HCC and partners have been continuing their work in the region aimed at supporting the multisectoral response through the strengthening National NCD Commissions (NNCDCs) or their equivalents. On January 11-12, 2018 Dr. Damian Greaves, Chair Grenada NNCDC and Dr. Sonia Nixon, Senior Medical Officer of Health for NCDs, Grenada and past interim NNCDC chair, visited Barbados for a 2 day site visit/observership with the Barbados National NCD Commission.
‘This session for us over the last 2 days has been totally engaging and eye opening. I am leaving very ‘buoyed up’ and highly motivated.’ Dr. Damian Greaves, Chair of the Grenada NNCDC.
‘I am very grateful to HCC and the Barbados NNCDC. This experience can only enhance the forward movement of the commission.’ Dr. Sonia Nixon, Senior Medical Officer of Health for NCDs.
On August 17-18, 2017, Ms. Lydia Atkins, Alternate NCD Focal Point for the St. Lucia Ministry of Health and Wellness and a member of the recently formed St. Lucia NCD Commission, and Dr. Owen Gabriel, Consultant Oncologist, and Chair of the St. Lucia NNCDC, visited Barbados to meet with the Barbados NNCDC. The St. Lucia NNCDC was initially established in 2013 and went into dormancy after serving a two-year term. In 2017 it was re-established with a new Chair and new membership and the mandate to enhance visibility of the National NCD Agenda in an effort to mobilise and strengthen public, private and civil society partnerships for reducing the NCD burden at the national level. The Commission has been given an agenda of accelerated NCD action that will place St. Lucia on a trajectory to bring the country closer to achieving the 2025 global NCD targets and the health related targets within the 2030 Agenda. To achieve these targets there is a need to ensure that the Commission is adequately equipped to advance the work on NCDs.