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Private sector must join battle

The head of a leading insurance company this evening called on the private sector to play its part in supporting strategies to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.

Chief Operating Officer of Sagicor Life Inc, John Clarke made his pleas as Sagicor signed a memorandum of understanding with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition for the establishment of a secretariat.

“I pay special attention to the private sector because that is who I am representing today and it is paramount that the private sector becomes more involved in fighting this battle and it is a battle. We see it every day in advertisements, we see it as we walk the streets, we see it in our every day life, and I think it is paramount that companies like us join the battle,” said the General Manager of Barbados Operations, shortly before signing the agreement.

The insurance boss stated that statistics from the companies operations in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad, had shown that one-third of all claims paid were as a result of NCDs.

“Therefore, over the next three years, the much needed funding which we will grant to Healthy Caribbean Coalition will give rise tot he type of contribution that is necessary if we are to make a difference in the quality of life of Caribbean citizens and meet targets outlined by CARICOM Heads of Government,” he stated.

It was the company’s objective, through its assistance to the HCC and the establishment of a new health economics teaching position at the Cave Hill Campus, to “engineer a reduction in the number of individuals affected by these diseases annually”.

Even as the HCC acknowledged that recent endorsements will enable the reduction of the burden of non-communicable diseases, the signed MOU with Sagicor Life Inc is expected to disburse $160,000 over the three years towards the establishment and running of the secretariat.

Meanwhile, President of the HCC, Professor Trevor Hassell noted that the secretariat would allow and facilitated the “implementation of the organisation’s four main objectives of capacity building, advocacy, enhanced communication and mobile health and e-health promotion.

“As we move forward and seek to contribute to the response to NCDs, we in the coalition are strongly of the view that all Caribbean governments need to adhere strictly to articles of the WHO Treaty – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which aims at reducing the deadly effects of exposure to tobacco smoke, and as we further recommend governments of the region to enter into discussions with food producers and manufacturers to restrict salt and sugar content in foods. These are two important initiatives that we have the potential to significantly reduce the health and economic burden of NCDs,” he noted. (LB)

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