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CRIME-Dramatic jump in arrest of Caribbean immigrants across the US

 WASHINGTON, May 18, CMC – The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says in the 100 days since US President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Orders (EOs) regarding immigration enforcement priorities, immigration agents have arrested more than 41,000 Caribbean and other immigrants who are either known or suspected of being in the US illegally.

On Wednesday, ICE said this reflects an increase of 37.6 per cent over the same period in 2016.

arrestsBetween January 22 and April 29, ICE said its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers administratively arrested 41,318 individuals on civil immigration charges.

Between January 24 and April 30, 2016, ERO arrested 30,028.

“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens [immigrants].

“However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law,” he added. “As the data demonstrates, ICE continues to execute our mission professionally and in accordance with the law, and our communities will be much safer for it.”

ICE said nearly 75 per cent of those arrested during this period in 2017 are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.

The arrest of immigrants at-large in the community increased by more than 50 per cent, from 8,381 last year to 12,766 arrests this year during the same period, ICE said.

It said the arrest of convicted criminal immigrants climbed nearly 20 percent, from 25,786 last year to 30,473 this year, adding that violent crimes, such as homicide, rape, kidnapping and assault accounted for more than 2,700 convictions.

In total, since Trump signed the EROs, ICE said its immigration enforcement activity has resulted in more than 400 arrests per day, “including the capture of egregious and violent offenders.”

While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, ICE said Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the US illegally.

ICE said this is evident by the rise in non-criminal arrests over the same period, which increased from about 4,200 in 2016 to more than 10,800 in 2017.

“All of those arrested will receive the due process afforded to them under the law,” Homan said. “ICE will take action to remove individuals subject to a final order by a federal immigration judge.

“We are a nation of laws, and ignoring orders issued by federal judges undermines our constitutional government,” he added.

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Dr. james Hospedales

CARPHA says CRS will help improve patient care in the Caribbean

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 10, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) says the establishment of a Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) will improve conditions for patients in the region to receive safe, efficacious, high quality drugs.

“Access to safe, efficacious and good quality drugs is a human right which CARPHA as the regional public health organisation is committed to facilitating,” CARPHA executive director told a Capacity-Building workshop on the Regulation of Medicines.

CARPHA, in collaboration with the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), has established a CRS.

Dr. james Hospedales
Dr. James Hospedales

Hospedales explained that the CRS will focus on providing regulatory assurance to essential generic medicines for the region.

“Through the CRS, CARPHA will be able to help countries perform functions such as reviewing, approving and monitoring medicines, in a timely manner, allowing patients faster access to quality drugs,” he said, adding that it would also help to reduce cost of medicines to consumers and the health system, thereby improving accessibility and affordability.

With only five CARICOM countries currently conducting a review of safety, quality, and efficacy of drugs, PAHO Country Representative for Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, emphasised the need for strong regulatory systems for medicines.

She said that limited capacity in the regulation of medicines can have several negative results, including the proliferation of substandard and falsified medicines, warning this “can injure and kill people”.

The CRS is a new value added service provided by CARPHA and endorsed by the CARICOM Ministers of Health.  It is not intended to replace already established national regulatory authorities, but rather to augment and support them.  It will also coordinate reporting and analysis on medicine safety and quality issues within CARICOM.

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Barbadians warned about taking unproven and unscientific cures for health problems

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mar 22, CMC – Barbados health authorities have expressed concern about a number of advertisements appearing in the media which promote “unproven and unscientific” cures for cancer, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, says while the Ministry of Health supports people’s right to explore alternative medical treatments, it is important that people exercise caution and not be swayed by “untried and untested” products which promised “a quick fix” to their health issues.

medicineShe advised that persons continue to consult their medical practitioners and follow their counsel before making decisions which will impact their health.

She warned that failure to do this could result in serious medical consequences which also often proved very expensive.

Dr. St. John stated that the Paramedical Professions Council was established by the Barbados government in 1975 to provide for the registration of members of recognised professions allied to health.

“The Council regulates safe practices within the paramedical professions, and paramedical professionals are given a certificate of registration which the public may ask to see,” the Chief Medical Officer said.

The Council also handles queries related to paramedical professions and these may be addressed to the body in writing.

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corn beef

More Caribbean countries place ban on corn beef and meat products from Brazil

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Mar 22, CMC – The number of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)countries placing a temporary ban on the importation of corn beef or meat products from Brazil increased by two with Barbados and the Bahamas joining their CARICOM partners from Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

The Bahamas government said that it is aware of the meat scandal unfolding in Brazil relative to food inspectors taking bribes to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats and that the South American country has suspended exports from 21 meat-processing units.

corn beefIt said to safeguard the Bahamian population it is placing a “precautionary ban of meat imports from Brazil.

“Until further notice, no permits for the importation of processed meat products from Brazil will be issued. This includes corned beef as well as other beef products and beef by-products.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources will continue to monitor this issue over the next 60 days and should we be satisfied that imports from Brazil be resumed, it would be with the following proviso that beef must be slaughtered and processed at an approved Government abattoir and processing facility”.

In addition the Bahamas said there would be need for a Sanitary certificate to accompany all imports from Brazil an inspection of all batch containers be done at the Port of Entry, an import permit must be sought by all importers from the relevant Government Agency and a registry must be compiled of all importers of beef and beef products from Brazil.

Meanwhile, Barbados has implemented its own temporary ban with Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr. Mark Trotman, indicating that the ban had been effected pending further investigation as to whether any of the product had come into the island.

He is also advising retailers to withdraw all Brazilian meat products from their shelves and warned consumers not to purchase corned beef or other canned meats manufactured in Brazil until the investigation was completed.

 “As part of our investigations, samples of product are being collected and will be analysed by the Veterinary Services Laboratory and the Government Analytical Services Laboratory,” he added.

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CARPHA signs MOUs with Guyana and OECS

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 15, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency Caribbean Regulatory System (CARPHA/CRS) says it has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Guyana and the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

The CARPHA/CRS is a new value-added service to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states to help them review and monitor the efficacy, safety, and quality of medicines sold within their borders.

medicineThe initiative aims to fast-track the approval of known high-quality essential generic medicines, through faster review timelines, and by giving companies a single portal of entry to CARICOM markets of roughly 17 million people.

CARPHA said CARICOM states face capacity challenges in regulation of medicines, including having large backlogs and wait times for product approvals, and limited to no quality/safety monitoring of medicines in use by patients.

“The signing of the MOU with the Government of Guyana allows for stronger engagement with the CARPHA/CRS, including on sharing information and processing decisions.

“The MOU with OECS/PPS is important because many in the OECS group do not have regulatory authorities of their own, and the MOU allows the OECS/PPS to both procure CRS recommended products, and to share quality/safety related information,” CARPHA/CRS said.

It said further, the OECS/PPS MOU gives industry using the CRS access to the OECS/PPS pharmaceutical procurement market with an annual value of an estimated eight million US dollars.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

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Narcoitics report

US names a number of Caribbean countries as major drug-transit countries

WASHINGTON, Mar 3, CMC – The United States Friday named several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as major illicit drug producing and  major drug-transit countries with some regional countries also being major money laundering countries,

The US Department of State’s “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR),” notes that the Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica, are among 22 countries worldwide considered major drug producing or major drug transit countries.

Narcoitics report“Haiti remains a transit point for cocaine originating in South America and marijuana originating in Jamaica, en route to the United States and other markets. This traffic takes advantage of Haiti’s severely under-patrolled maritime borders, particularly on the northern and southern coasts.

“Haiti is not a significant producer of illicit drugs for export, although there is cultivation of cannabis for local consumption. Haiti’s primarily subsistence-level economy does not provide an environment conducive to high levels of domestic drug use,” Washington noted.

The report notes that Jamaica remains the largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States and local Caribbean islands.

“Although cocaine and synthetic drugs are not produced locally, Jamaica is a transit point for drugs trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets.”

Washington noted that in 2016, drug production and trafficking were enabled and accompanied by organized crime, domestic and international gang activity, and police and government corruption.

The report noted that illicit drugs are also a means of exchange for illegally-trafficked firearms entering the country, exacerbating Jamaica’s security situation.

“Drugs flow from and through Jamaica by maritime conveyance, air freight, human couriers, and private aircraft. Marijuana and cocaine are trafficked from and through Jamaica into other Caribbean nations, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“Jamaica is a transit point for cocaine moving from Central America to the United States, and some drug trafficking organizations exchange Jamaican marijuana for cocaine. Factors that contribute to drug trafficking include the country’s convenient geographic position as a way point for illicit drugs trafficked from Latin America; its lengthy, rugged, and difficult-to patrol coastline; a high volume of tourist travel and airline traffic; its status as a major trans-shipment hub for maritime containerized cargo; inadequate educational and employment opportunities for at-risk youth who engage in crime; and a struggling economy that encourages marijuana cultivation in rural areas.”

The report also named the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, as major money laundering countries.

“A major money laundering country is defined by statute as one “whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking.”

But the report noted that the complex nature of money laundering transactions makes it difficult in many cases to distinguish the proceeds of narcotics trafficking from the proceeds of other serious crime. “Moreover, financial institutions engaging in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds of other serious crime are vulnerable to narcotics-related money laundering.”

Washington said that this year’s list of major money laundering countries recognizes this relationship by including all countries and other jurisdictions, whose financial institutions engage in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from all serious crime.

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St. Vincent bans Styrofoam products

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb 7, CMC – The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government has announced a ban on the importation of Styrofoam products.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves delivering the EC$976.4 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) budget to Parliament on Monday night, also announced the removal of value added tax (VAT) on biodegradable packaging and food containers.

styrofoam“This measure is intended to lower the costs of these environmentally positive substitutes for plastics, including Styrofoam, and reduce the adverse effects that plastics have on our environment,” he said.

The new measure goes into effect on May 1.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines join several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have banned Styrofoam which is made of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals, which may leach if they come in contact with hot, greasy or acidic food.

Environmentalists say while Styrofoam keep coffee hot, they may also add an unwanted dose of toxins to the drink and even animals are affected by the product which is indigestible.

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Homeland Security to comply with orders not to deport travelers

CNN – Politics

Story highlights

  • Judge grants stay for valid visa-holders to remain in US
  • Among those held at JFK were two Iraqis with ties to US military

Does the travel ban affect you, your friends or loved ones? We want to hear your stories. Tag #CNNiReport on social or use WhatsApp +44 7435 939 154 to share stories.

(CNN)The Department of Homeland Security said on Sunday it will comply with judicial orders not to deport detained travelers.

This comes after a federal judge in New York granted an emergency stay Saturday night for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries who have already arrived in the US and those who are in transit, and who hold valid visas, ruling they cannot be removed from the US.
That move limited part of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens from those countries from entering the US for the next 90 days.
Similar legal rulings were made in Virginia and Washington state after the New York ruling was made.
“The Department of Homeland Security will comply with judicial orders; faithfully enforce our immigration laws, and implement the president’s Executive Orders to ensure that those entering the United States do not pose a threat to our country or the American people,” the department said.
On Saturday evening, the ACLU argued in a federal court in New York for a nationwide stay that would block the deportation of all people stranded in US airports under what the group called “President Trump’s new Muslim ban.”
US District Judge Ann Donnelly granted the stay.
“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and other similarly situated violates their due process and equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” Donnelly wrote in her decision.
“There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017, Executive Order.”

Trump: Travel ban working out very nicely


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Trump: Travel ban working out very nicely 01:07
The civil rights group is representing dozens of travelers held at John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday and Saturday, including two Iraqis with ties to the US military who had been granted visas to enter the United States.
The ruling does not necessarily mean the people being held at airports across the US are going to be released, said Zachary Manfredi, from Yale’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, who helped draft the emergency stay motion.
“The judge’s order is that they (lawful visa/green card holders) not be removed from the US — it doesn’t immediately order that they be released from detention,” he told CNN.
“We are hoping that CBP (Customs and Border Patrol), now that they no longer have a reason to detain them, will release them. But it is also possible they could be transferred to (other) detention facilities.”
“We are getting the order to as many CBP officers as possible right now,” he added.
The United States denied entry to 109 travelers heading to the country at the time the ruling was signed, a Department of Homeland Security official said. The agency would not say how many of them were sent already home and how many were detained.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero praised the ruling, saying “our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case, said the ruling “preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil.”

Former adviser defends Trump's immigration ban


Former adviser defends Trump's immigration ban



Former adviser defends Trump’s immigration ban 03:53

Lawsuit is first challenge to executive order

The class-action lawsuit is the first legal challenge to Trump’s controversial executive order, which indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States by instituting what the President has called “extreme vetting” of immigrants.
The two Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi, had been released by Saturday night. But lawyers for other detained travelers said in a court filing that “dozens and dozens” of individuals remained held at JFK.
Similar legal actions had been initiated in other states..
A federal court in Washington state issued a stay forbidding travelers being detained there from being sent back to their home country.
A federal court in Virginia has issued a temporary restraining order saying several dozen permanent residents returning from trips abroad should have access to lawyers while they are being detained at Dulles International Airport and these residents cannot be removed from the United States for seven days.
Trump’s order, signed Friday, bars travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, to the US for 90 days. It also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated “only for nationals of countries for whom” members of Trump’s Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.

Released under special circumstances

According to court papers, both Darweesh and Alshawi were legally allowed to come into the US but were detained in accordance with Trump’s order.
Darweesh, who worked as an interpreter for the US during the Iraq War, was released from detention early Saturday afternoon.
“America is the land of freedom,” he told reporters at the airport shortly after his release. “America is the greatest nation.”
A source with knowledge of the case confirmed Darweesh will be allowed into the US due to provisions in Trump’s order that allow the State and Homeland Security departments to admit individuals into the US on a case-by-case base for certain reasons, including when the person is already in transit and it would cause undue hardship and would not pose a threat to the security of the US.
The suit said Darweesh held a special immigrant visa, which he was granted the day of Trump’s inauguration on January 20, due to his work for the US government from 2003 to 2013.

Wife separated from husband after Trump's ban


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Wife separated from husband after Trump’s ban 03:11
Alshawi was released Saturday night, according to his attorney, Mark Doss.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-New York, who had arrived at JFK by early Saturday afternoon to try and secure the release of the two Iraqis, railed against Trump’s order and pledged continued action.
“This should not happen in America,” Velazquez said following Darweesh’s release. “One by one, street by street, if we have to go to court, we will fight this anyplace, anywhere.”

‘The executive order is unlawful’

The lawsuit said the US granted Alshawi a visa earlier this month to meet with his wife and son, whom the US already granted refugee status for her association with the US military.
The lawyers for the two men called for a hearing because they maintain the detention of people with valid visas is illegal.
“Because the executive order is unlawful as applied to petitioners, their continued detention based solely on the executive order violates their Fifth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights,” the lawyers argue in court papers.
The ban and its impact
  • 134 million banned from US
  • What to know about the restrictions
  • Court papers said Customs and Border Protection authorities did not allow the lawyers to meet with the men and told them to try reaching Trump. Velázquez and fellow New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler said they attempted to speak to Darweesh and Alshawi at JFK’s Terminal 4 earlier Saturday but were denied.
    “When Mr. Darweesh’s attorneys approached CBP requesting to speak with Mr. Darweesh, CBP indicated that they were not the ones to talk to about seeing their client. When the attorneys asked, ‘Who is the person to talk to?’ the CBP agents responded, ‘Mr. President. Call Mr. Trump,'” the court papers read.
    Doss, an attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project, told CNN his clients knew they had to get to the US as soon as possible so they boarded the first flight they could.
    The two men had been allowed to make phone calls. They do not know each other, and it is unclear if they were held together or separately, or if they were kept in a holding cell, according to Doss.
    “Our courageous plaintiff and countless others risked their lives helping US service members in Iraq. Trump’s order puts those who have helped us in harm’s way by denying them the safe harbor they have been promised in the United States,” said Karen Tumlin, the legal director of the NILC.
    The lawsuit was earlier reported by The New York Times.

    Legality questioned

    Trump’s executive order, titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” makes good on his longtime campaign promise to tighten borders and halt certain refugees from entering the United States.
    The countries impacted are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, according to a White House official. It also caps the total number of refugees admitted into the United States during the 2017 fiscal year at 50,000, down more than half from the current level of 110,000.
    “I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said during the signing at the Pentagon. “We don’t want them here.”
    An administration official told CNN if a person has a valid visa to enter the US but is a citizen of one of the seven countries under the temporary travel ban, then the person cannot come into the US. If the person landed after the order was signed Friday afternoon, then the person would be detained and put back on a flight to their country of citizenship.
    Department of Homeland Security officials acknowledged people who were in the air would be detained upon arrival and put back on a plane to their home country. An official was not able to provide numbers of how many have already been detained.
    After the federal orders were issued, the department said it “will continue to enforce all of the president’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people.
    “The president’s Executive Orders remain in place-prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.
    “The president’s Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

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    obese woman

    New report says obesity on the rise in the Caribbean

    SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — A new joint report by two United Nations agencies says overweight and obesity is on the rise throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting every country, except Haiti.

    The report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says overweight and obesity are particularly prevalent among women and children in the region.

    The “Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean” on Wednesday said that close to 360 million people – about 58 per cent of the inhabitants of the region – are overweight, with the highest rates observed in the Bahamas (69 per cent), Mexico (64 per cent) and Chile (63 per cent).

    With the exception of Haiti (38.5 per cent), Paraguay (48.5 per cent) and Nicaragua (49.4 per cent), the report said obesity affects more than half the population of all countries in the region.

    The report also noted obesity affects 140 million people – 23 per cent of the region’s population – and highest rates are to be found in the Caribbean countries of Barbados (36 per cent), and Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda at around 31 per cent.

    PAHO said the increase in obesity has disproportionately impacted women.

    It said that, in more than 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the rate of female obesity is 10 percentage points higher than that of men.

    “The alarming rates of overweight and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean should act as a wake-up call to governments in the region to introduce policies that address all forms of hunger and malnutrition by linking food security, sustainability, agriculture, nutrition and health,” said According to FAO’s Regional Representative Eve Crowley.

    PAHO’s Director Dr Carissa F Etienne said that the region also faces “a double burden of malnutrition.

    “This needs to be tackled through balanced diets that include fresh, healthy, nutritious and sustainably produced food, as well as addressing the main social factors that determine malnutrition, such as lack of access to healthy food, water and sanitation, education and health services, and social protection programs, among others,” she said.

    The FAO/PAHO Panorama report pointed out that one of the main factors contributing to the rise of obesity and overweight has been the change in dietary patterns.

    It said economic growth, increased urbanization; higher average incomes and the integration of the region into international markets have reduced the consumption of traditional preparations and increased consumption of ultra-processed products, “a problem that has had greater impact on areas and countries that are net food importers.”

    To address this situation, FAO and PAHO call for the promotion of healthy and sustainable food systems that link agriculture, food, nutrition and health.

    “To this end, countries should promote the sustainable production of fresh, safe and nutritious foods, ensuring their supply, diversity and access, especially for the most vulnerable sectors,” the statement said. “This should be complemented with nutrition education and consumer warnings about the nutritional composition of foods high in sugar, fat and salt.”

    According to the report, the region has managed to reduce hunger considerably, adding that, today, only 5.5 per cent of the population lives undernourished, with the Caribbean being the sub-region with the highest prevalence (almost 20 per cent), “largely due to the fact that Haiti has the highest rate of undernourished on the planet – 53 per cent.”

    The report said the situation concerning stunting in Latin America and the Caribbean has also improved: It fell from around 25 per cent in 1990 to 11 per cent in 2015, a reduction of 7.8 million children.

    Despite these advances, the report said about six million children are still stunted, while 700,000 – 1.3 per cent of children under 5 years – suffer wasting.

    PAHO said virtually all countries have been successful in improving the nutrition of their children, but it should be noted that malnutrition affects the poorest and rural areas the most.

    “That’s where governments need to focus their efforts,” Crowley said.

    The report showed that, in Latin America and the Caribbean, about four million children – just over seven percent – of children under the age of five are overweight.

    Since 1990, the report said the largest increases in overweight among children – in terms of numbers – were seen in Mesoamerica; and, in terms of prevalence, in the Caribbean, where the rate increased from around four percent to almost seven.

    The report noted that several governments have introduced policies aimed at improving the nutrition of their citizens.

    It pointed to Barbados, Dominica and Mexico – countries that have approved taxes for sugar-sweetened beverages; while Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador have healthy food laws that regulate food advertising and/or labelling.

    Etienne emphasised that these measures should be complemented with policies to increase the supply and access to fresh food and safe water, among other things, focusing on the strengthening of family farming, as well as the development of short production and marketing circuits, public procurement programs, and food and nutrition education .

    According to the report, the current trajectory of regional agricultural growth is unsustainable, owing, among other factors, to the serious consequences it is having on the region’s ecosystems and natural resources.

    “The sustainability of our region’s food supply and its future diversity is under threat, unless we change the way we do things,” said Crowley, noting that 127 million tons of food are lost or wasted annually in Latin America and Caribbean.

    According to FAO and PAHO, the use of land and other natural resources must be made more efficient and sustainable, the techniques of food production, storage and processing must be improved, and food losses and waste must be reduced “to ensure equitable access to food for all.”

    Posted in Features, Health0 Comments


    OECS welcomes kidney transplant operation in Antigua and Barbuda


    CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Jan 25, CMC – The St. Lucia-based Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has congratulated Antigua and Barbuda following the first kidney transplant operation to be done in the sub-region.

    “This operation had ushered in a new era of health care proficiency within the region driven by a whole of government approach in collaboration with local health authorities and regional health coordinating groups including the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)” said OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules.

    KidneyHe said the OECS Commission supports the call for a seamless regional organ donor registry in the wake of the operation and would work closely with all stakeholders to formulate a viable proposal.

     “The rise in chronic non-communicable diseases in the OECS such as diabetes, cancer and kidney disease require we work holistically across all strata of government and employ new and innovative ways of addressing these health challenges given the fiscal and other resource constraints of member states.

    “The OECS Commission’s Health Unit is working closely with Chief Medical Officers and other stakeholders to further strengthen our associations with our global health development partners and to support proposals for centers of specialized medical care excellence in each OECS member state”,’ Jules said, adding that “this would also include formalising the call by the OECS Health Policy Forum for establishing a national and regional organ donor database, because as we know in the case of kidney disease, a transplant is significantly cheaper and less traumatic than keeping someone on haemodialysis”.

    Jules said that the re-modelling needed within the health care architecture of the region is being undertaken to ultimately ensure that every OECS citizen has access to affordable, quality health care and the kidney transplant achievement by the staff of the Mount St John’s Medical Centre is testament to that vision.

    The eight hour procedure was performed by a 14-member team consisting of four surgeons, two anaesthetists and eight specialist nurses on January 16.

    Antigua and Barbuda Health Minister Molwyn Joseph described the event as “historic” praising “all the doctors, nurses and other technicians who directly or indirectly contributed to this success.

    “They shared a vision with the government of what we can accomplish in healthcare and they brought professionalism in making possible what for years appeared to be impossible. Our nation has a right to take pride in this accomplishment, we have done what mere mortals can do and it was done with dedication and care”, Joseph said.

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