Office of the Principal, Bridgetown, Barbados. 18 April 2017: The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) signed off on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on reducing the high level of non-communicable diseases (NCDS) in the region. The symbolic ceremony was held at the Open Campus’ Learning Centre located on the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. HCC President, Sir Trevor Hassel, joined the Open Campus Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr. Luz Longsworth, in the signing of the agreement,
In her observations at the event, Dr Longsworth observed that the new partnership arrangement with HCC created an important link between the two key sectors of health and education for the continued development of the people in Caribbean region. She stated that for decades The UWI has been at the forefront of research and practice in the areas of detection, treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases. “Sir Trevor Hassel and his team began this discussion some nine months ago. Immediately we could see synergies between the mission and vision of HCC and the Open Campus”, she said.
In his comments, Sir Trevor Hassell indicated his pleasure at the formalising of the three-year agreement. He revealed that chronic diseases (NCDs) account for considerable death and disability in the Caribbean with eight out of every ten deaths due to these diseases. He stated as well that most countries in the region expended more that 60 % of their health budgets on this group of diseases, which presented a tremendous economic burden.
“The relationship initiated today reflects the HCC’s strategic priorities of accountability, advocacy, capacity development, communication and sustainability, and provides a platform for these priorities to be given meaningful effect by the Open Campus across its nearly 50 physical site locations in 17 English-speaking Caribbean countries.”
The MOU between The UWI Open Campus and the HCC will allow both entities to work on developing and delivering joint regional online and face-to-face training programmes to enhance knowledge for the prevention and control of NCDs, and to provide a platform for capacity building of human resources within this area.