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WORLD HYPERTENSION DAY- “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”  

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands May 19, 2023 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoHHS), Turks and Caicos Islands is pleased to join the World Hypertension League (WHL) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in observing World Hypertension Day 2023. World Hypertension Day – celebrated annually on May 17th – is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting hypertension prevention, detection and control.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common condition which if left untreated, can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, stroke kidney failure or blindness. Persons should aim to have a normal blood pressure of 120/80. Hypertension is the main risk factor to develop cardiovascular disease. More than one billion people around the world live with hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and premature death worldwide. It is the principal cause of premature death in the Americas, responsible for around 2 million lives lost each year.

“The burden of hypertension is felt disproportionately in low and middle-income countries, where two-thirds of cases are found, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades. What is more, around half of the people living with hypertension are unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of avoidable medical complications and death (PAHO, 2022)”.

This year, the WHL is celebrating its 18th World Hypertension Day under the theme “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”, and is using this opportunity to focus on combatting low awareness rates worldwide, especially in low to middle-income areas, and accurate blood pressure measurement methods. 

Commenting on this year’s World Hypertension Day campaign, the Hon. Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services, stated: 

“Hypertension, which is the main risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), remains a major public health threat.  Therefore, it requires swift action that goes beyond individual and lifestyle changes”. Hon. Malcolm further stated that “the Ministry of Health has embarked on the HEARTs initiative as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure equitable access to care for hypertension and other non-communicable diseases at the first level of care, and to provide training and normative guidelines so that the latest, evidence-based approaches for hypertension diagnosis and treatment are practiced in primary health clinics across the islands”.

The MoHHS recognizes that health systems, which are upheld by a primary health care approach, represent the most efficient and cost-effective means of providing health and well-being services to individuals. Moreover, the Ministry is dedicated to delivering accessible, equitable, and high-quality healthcare services to all, and is committed to strengthening the health systems of the Turks and Caicos Islands by enhancing the availability of health services and advancing health education programs.

Accordingly, the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit of the Ministry of Health and Human Services will continue to promote healthy living and educate the Turks and Caicos Islands community about significant health topics and issues as well as empower individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Persons diagnosed with hypertension are encouraged to manage their risk factors such as high salt diet, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, smoking and comply with treatment as prescribed by their clinicians in order to reduce their risk for complications. Persons should know their numbers through getting their blood pressures checked on a regular basis.

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Caribbean News

PAHO Calls Americas to Increase Aedes aegypti Mosquito Control

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#PAHO#Dengue#Americas, February 23rd, 2024 – With nearly seven thousand cases of dengue and 102 deaths reported in the Americas as of early February 2024, the Pan American Health Organization is once again calling for stronger measures to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main transmitter of dengue. These numbers indicate a 157 percent increase in cases over the same period in 2023.  In the first five weeks of 2024, Peru, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay reported an increase in cases.

 

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Government

Ministry of Health and Human Services in Collaboration with UK Health Security Agency conducts Migrant Health needs Assessment  

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – The Ministry of Health and Human Services has partnered with a team from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) Public Health Programme to conduct a health needs assessment for communities in informal settlements throughout the TCI.  This project was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and has taken place through a series of consultations and meetings in order to assess health needs and propose recommendations to address gaps in access to health care.

A steering committee supported the preliminary discussions on developing the scope and direction for the assessment and included representation from the TCI from Dr. Dawn O’Sullivan, Dr. Camelia Clarke (Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit), Mrs. Aldora Robinson (Former Director, Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit) and Dr. Nadia Astwood (Chief Medical Officer).

This project culminated in an in-country visit by a team which included: Annabel Grieve (Programme Management Lead), Dr. Amoolya Vusirikala (Public Health Registrar) and Allegra Chatterjee (Epidemiologist) with earlier support provided by Dr. Natalie Wright, Health Protection Lead and Consultant in Global Public Health with the UK Overseas Territories, Global Operations. The visit, which began on January 21st 2024 and concluded this week, saw a number of in-person consultations with key stakeholders across sectors, as well as community focus groups conducted in Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Following the visit, the team paid a courtesy call to the Hon. Minister of Health and Human Services, Shaun D Malcolm and the Executive Team from the Ministry of Health and Human Services, to provide a high level debrief and presentation of the preliminary findings of the assessment. Following further analysis of the findings of the visit, a final report will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Human Services which will provide a number of conclusions as well as evidence-based recommendations for consideration by the Government.

Commenting on the visit, Hon. Shaun D Malcolm stated that “we welcome this support from UKHSA and FCDO with whom the Ministry of Health has enjoyed a close working relationship and technical support over the years, to formally assess the health needs of this population in order to ensure that the overall health of our population can be addressed in a holistic manner to ensure that universal access to health care is addressed.”

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Caribbean News

Irish Humanitarian Organization in Haiti – Address Hunger Crisis and More

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti#Crisis#ConcernWorldwide, February 2oth, 2024 – Seeing that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens day by day with too many Haitians, hundreds of thousands, edging the line to severe deprivation of food, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide is addressing major food insecurity. 

 The organization in a release said “ “We are providing food assistance, via electronic vouchers to help families purchase food from local vendors so that they can feed their families and prevent malnutrition in children as the situation worsens.”

They are also working to provide Haitians with clean water and sanitation as the waterborne disease Cholera continues to threaten lives, killing more than 1,150 people in 2023.

And, they provide referrals for cases of sexual and gender based violence in Port au Prince.

Concern is supported by funding from USAID, receiving €2.1 million (euros) to help over 30 thousand people in the hunger crisis as well as €1 million (euros) yearly from the Irish Government for its work in Haiti.

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