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Caribbean News

CARPHA Urges You to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones Against Mosquito Borne Diseases During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 8 May 2021 – “The world has been engaged in battling the novel coronavirus COVID-19 since it was declared a pandemic on March 10, 2020.  The new normal has seen many nations continuing to integrate social distancing, wearing facial masks and hygiene measures into everyday life. Some countries still maintain closed borders and restrict population movement in efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. These measures allow health systems to maintain readiness in order to manage the pandemic and other important public health threats that can emerge at short notice.

During the last quarter of 2020, several CARPHA Member States reported localised outbreaks of Dengue, a mosquito borne disease, which placed an even greater burden on national health systems already engaged in managing the pandemic. “Moving forward to 2021, we must all play our part in the prevention and control of mosquito borne diseases in order to maintain our health and well-being, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic” stated CARPHA Executive Director, Dr Joy St. John, in observance of Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2021.

“The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a major vector, which spreads diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. These diseases can be a significant cause of illness and even death, impacting countries negatively on an economic and social level”, said Dr. Laura-Lee Boodram, Head of Vector Borne Diseases at CARPHA. She further added, “The introduction of Chikungunya and Zika in 2014 and 2016, respectively into the Caribbean Region, together with the presence of competent vectors such as Aedes aegpyti, means that constant vigilance must be maintained.

The potential for outbreaks to occur and the introduction of new mosquito borne diseases in the Caribbean region is an ever-present threat.  CARPHA works in conjunction with Member States and various International Development Partners on strategies to prevent and control mosquito borne diseases in the Region.

Caribbean Mosquito Awareness week (CMAW) was declared in November 2014 at the 17th Special Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government on Public Health Threats. CMAW is held annually in May and is an important reminder to the general public to take action to reduce their risk of diseases spread by mosquitoes. 

In 2021, CARPHA’s CMAW slogan states, “Tiny…but DEADLY. Don’t wait…ERADICATE!”, placing emphasis on measures to control mosquito breeding.  As the rainy season approaches, water can accumulate in the base of plants pots, vases, buckets and used vehicles tires, which are typical breeding sites.  An increase in vector populations will further the risk of disease transmission.

Mr. Rajesh Ragoo, Senior Technical Officer, Vector Borne Diseases, CARPHA recommends, “The best way to “fight the bite” around homes and communities, is to ensure that our surroundings are clean and free of materials or containers that can accumulate water. Water storage drums and tanks should also be properly covered and inspected periodically to ensure that there is no breeding.” He further indicated, “It is also important to minimize individual exposure to mosquito bites. Vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, older adults and women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant are at greater risk. Personal protective measures including the wearing of long-sleeved clothing and the use of insect repellents are strongly recommended. 

In late 2019, CARPHA entered into a grant agreement with the European Union (EU), which supports regional prevention and control efforts against mosquito borne diseases. Focus will be placed on strengthening Member State disease surveillance systems and vector control operations, expanding community engagement, public health education and increasing partnerships and collaborations to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with mosquito borne diseases.

CARPHA recommends that greater efforts be placed on mosquito awareness in communities, and vector control activities should be intensified. CARPHA has developed Mission Mosquito, an innovative information toolkit, which includes animated videos, posters and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).  The toolkit is specially packaged to meet the needs of a diverse audience, which include public health professionals and clinicians, pregnant women, and children. The toolkit is available here  http://missionmosquito.carpha.org/.   Communication material developed for CMAW 2021 is available here.

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Bahamas News

Students display culinary skill and creativity in Bahamas Young Chef Competition

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Lamont Missick with judges and teachers

#TheBahamas, October 19, 2021 –  – Despite setbacks and limitations due to COVID-19, Lamont Missick, H.O. Nash; Gerardo Annacius, Anatol Rodgers and Brianna Butterfield of Kingsway Academy, overcame the odds and finished first, second and third respectively in the second phase of the recent 29th Annual Bahamas Young Chef New Providence District Culinary Competitions.

With hybrid lessons and just two weeks of in-person classes supervised by teachers, the three students, who are enrolled in Family and Consumer Science Education, stepped up to the plate and earned the right to enter the upcoming third phase (National Round) of the annual contest.

Now into its 29th year, the annual district competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education along with Robin Hood Flour and Mahatma Rice, was held at Anatol Rodgers Senior High School, October 7 and 8.   Under the watchful eyes of judges who are all professional chefs — Clement Williams, Jimmy Dean, Chief Judge Gerald Rolle, Hazel Rolle, and Celeste Smith — the students were required to use Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour to prepare a dish and dessert based on the theme “Bahamian Culinary Resilience: Going Back to Our Roots.”

Following the grueling round in the kitchen and interviews by the judges, Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer congratulated the students and parents, and offered advice to the teachers.

“We appreciate all of the time and effort that you put into your children. This competition is a true partnership between home, school and industry. The chefs are willing to give their input and give them [the students] the benefit of their experience.

“We have three young persons who are very much into what they are learning in school. They are putting their best foot forward. All of them are automatically in the national round,” said Ms. Turnquest.

“COVID-19 is forcing us to use technology in new and creative ways. You are now able to bring industry professionals into your classroom almost on a regular basis who don’t have to leave where they are to get into your classroom to give the students the benefit of their knowledge.”

She urged the students to use the judges’ critiques to refine and elevate their dishes.

“You saw the experience of working in the kitchen with persons viewing and walking through while you are working. That is something valuable. Take advantage of it and we’ll see you again for the National round. Congratulations to all of you today.”

 

Lamont Missick, 14,

Flour dish: Pineapple upside down muffin

Rice Dish: Land and Sea Rice

Lamont said he used the opportunity to sharpen his culinary skills.

“I realized my love for culinary arts from the age of 8. I remember watching Ratatouille, and hearing that “anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great. I aim to be great and one day become and executive chef in my own restaurant,” said the ninth grader.

 

Brianna Butterfield, 14

Flour dish: Sugar apple almond muffins

Rice dish: Spinach Carrot Rice Cup with grouper pineapple sauce

“I love to cook and I wanted to boost my cooking skills,” said Brianna.

 

 

Gerardo Annacius dubbed his dishes ‘Fall ‘n’ Love’.

Rice dish: Conch and shrimp rice ball with plantain and coconut deep fried in coconut topping

Flour dish: Toasted bennie spiced cream puff with native pumpkin and coconut crème filling topped with ginger caramel

 

All of the judges commended the students on their dishes and encouraged them to continue to work hard.

Lamont was praised for his organized and sanitized kitchen-station. Also noted was his flavorful ‘spot on’ rice dish from which exuded flavors of conch, lobster, salt beef and coconut milk.

Chef Williams encouraged him to improve his presentation and move away from serving rice the old fashioned way of “cupping” in a bowl.

The judges were impressed with Annacius’ theme: “Fall ‘n’ Love’ and gave him pointers on how to improve his dish and dessert.

“You experienced a slight setback in the kitchen and your dessert dish did not come out as expected — but you did not stop, you made an effort to present something. Your dessert was flavorful; it did not rise like it should but you executed based on what you had,” said Chef Smith.

 

By Kathryn Campbell

(BIS Photos)

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Frontline workers and athletes hailed for their roles in battling COVID-19

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#Kingston, October 19, 2021 – The performance by frontline health workers and Olympians from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo has benefitted Jamaica tremendously.

This from Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Hon. Olivia Grange who made the comment while speaking at a virtual National Heritage Week Thanksgiving Church Service held Sunday (October 17) at the Waltham Park New Testament Church, 65 Waltham Park Road, Kingston, under the theme, ‘Saluting our Heroes…Safeguarding Our Legacy.’

During the service, there were virtual scripture readings by Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness and the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding. The service was aired on local television stations and streamed on the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s social media pages.

Minister Grange said that the work by the two groups, health care workers and athletes, “have benefited our nation immensely in the COVID-19 [coronavirus] pandemic times.”

She read comments from a newspaper article by nurses in St Ann, who had explained that although their jobs posed many challenges, “they were working towards a greater good”.

“It is a good feeling to know that we would go down into history as a set of people who did what we could do to alleviate the pandemic. It is a good experience to be part of this life changing time for the country,” Minister Grange recounted from the article.

The Minister said that the athletes should also be commended for giving Jamaicans “much to cheer about by their performance” during the pandemic.

“They represented us so well, that Jamaica ended up with nine medals putting us sixth place in track and field and 21st overall out of 206 competing nations. All of that against the background of the pandemic which had severely disrupted their training schedule,” she said, adding that the athletes should also be praised for setting a good example by getting vaccinated prior to the games.

Minister Grange urged Jamaicans to use Heritage Week to show respect and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of not only the National Heroes, but also for the “heroes of today.”

“It is important that we celebrate our National Heroes and the everyday heroes who make such a difference in our communities,” she added.

She said that the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Awards 2021 which has been pre-recorded to observe the gathering limits of COVID-19 protocols, will be aired on National Television on Monday, October 18.

In his virtual remarks at the national thanksgiving service, Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen said that Jamaicans should treasure and build on the legacy left “by those who have helped to shape our nation.

“Today we continue to use the inspiration and opportunities created by our heroes as well as the traditions of our parents to be our guide, to open new horizons of social progress, economic growth and individual excellence,” he said.

Release: JIS

Contact: E. Hartman Reckord

 

 

 

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Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Major Projects Coming to Deal With Lifestyle Diseases

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#Kingston, October 19, 2021 – Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says every effort must be made to reduce the incidents of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as these beset too many Jamaicans.  He pointed out that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased the vulnerability of persons to poor health outcomes, while presenting a significant challenge to the economy. Approximately 15 per cent of the health budget is being spent on ailments associated with NCDs.

Among these are “diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer – as is reflected in the 2017 investment case for the prevention and control of NCDs in Jamaica”, the Minister said while addressing Thursday’s (October 14) virtual launch of Phase-3 of the front-o- package labels (FOPLs) media campaign, being spearheaded by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.

The campaign is targeting Caribbean countries, with concentration in Jamaica and Barbados. Minister Tufton said the initiative is timely and stated that the 2017 report indicated that the Jamaican economy stands to lose some $77.1 billion over a 15-year period (2017-2032), “should we fail to implement a package of interventions for NCDs, notably diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, tobacco and alcohol control,” he said.

Minister Tufton in stressing that the recommended investment in policies and programmes is a priority, estimates a yield of $2.10 on every dollar spent and said the health issues must be tackled.

“It is essential, therefore, that every effort be made to put the brakes on NCDs, with which so many of our people are not only living, but from which they are also dying,” the Minister told his audience, adding that 70 per cent of Jamaicans die each year from an NCD.

“Given this context, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has prioritised food

labelling as one of a number of needed interventions,” he said while highlighting that, among other things, FOPLs are intended to “transparently and clearly” indicate to consumers whether the pre-packaged product is within the established recommendations for health, with specific reference to salt, sugar, saturated fat, and trans fat content.

The Minister reported that his Ministry has a number of other actions to overcome the NCD challenge – from the development of the Interim Guidelines for Beverages in Schools to involvement in the LIFE project of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research. That project, he said, is investigating the role of genetic, lifestyle, social, and environmental factors in NCDs in Jamaica.

He also noted that the Ministry has launched a salt study to provide further insight into needed interventions. “The evidence is, however, that a number of health conditions are caused or otherwise exacerbated by a high-salt diet. The effect on blood pressure, stroke and heart disease is where the strongest evidence lies, but there is a wide body of evidence showing a link between salt consumption and other conditions,” Dr. Tufton said.

 

Release: JIS

Contact: Garfield L. Angus

 

 

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