Professor Henry FraserArchitecural Historian / Heritage Consultant
Chairman, Sentinel Committee, Barbados National Trust
Writer, TV Presenter, National Orator & Motivational Speaker
Professor Emertius, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology.
Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.


Article Index

COMMON SENSE & EVIDENCE # 226, Summit on Chronic Diseases, September 23, 2007

Professor Henry Fraser

“If you want to do something quickly, do it alone. If you want to achieve a lot, do it together.” (Sir Ken Stuart, personal observation)

“We have spoken with one voice, leading to all of us pulling together in one direction, on one rope.” (Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s concluding remarks at CARICOM Summit)

September 15th should go down in history. It was the first time, anywhere in the world, that a group of Heads of Government have held a meeting at the highest level, to tackle the challenge of the chronic disease epidemic. Fifteen Heads, chaired by our own Prime Minister, approved the Declaration of Port of Spain. The theme was “Unite against Chronic Diseases – Stop the Epidemic.”

This was the culmination of a series of events over some years, beginning with the documentation of the epidemic by researchers (summarised in this column on September 9th); efforts, particularly by PAHO, to tackle diabetes; efforts by some governments to introduce diabetes clinics; more recent national strategic health plans; and especially the report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development, chaired by Sir George Alleyne, Director Emeritus of PAHO / WHO and Chancellor of the UWI.

The UWI has very much led the way, developing first a Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC), at the Cave Hill Campus, in 1992, with the specific mission of researching these diseases from childhood to old age and develop interventions to tackle them; and then the Epidemiological Research Unit at the Mona Campus in Jamaica.

These and the other units of the Tropical Medicine Research Institute collaborate in addressing the problems, and the CDRC is now working with Government’s Statistical Department to run a Behavioural Risk Factor Survey and is contracted by the Ministry of Health to run a National Heart and Stroke Register. The Declaration of Port of Spain commits to regional cooperation in a 14 point plan, including such projects, and to resource strengthening to achieve them. And a Task Force (led by Dr. Eddie Green, Assistant Director of the CARICOM Secretariat, and Sir George Alleyne) will carry plans forward.

As a noisy advocate for such a regional approach, I had the privilege of speaking on behalf of our Vice Chancellor, Professor Harris, to the Heads. My address follows:

“Chairman, sages, down the ages, have always said: “There is a time for everything and everything in its time.” The time has come to tackle the epidemic of chronic diseases that are maiming and killing the people of the Caribbean, and this historic gathering of CARICOM Heads of Governments is a splendid signal of a more cohesive Caribbean. Perhaps a similar summit should address West Indies cricket!

Henry Fraser Historic Houses Of Barbados Book CoverHistoric Houses of Barbados
Written by Henry Fraser & Ronnie Huges.
Available at all book leading book stores in Barbados.

Henry Fraser Treasures Of Barbados Book CoverTreasures of Barbados
Written by Sir George Alleyne and edited by Henry Fraser.
Available at the UWI Bookshop the publishers.

Henry Fraser Chattle House Book CoverBarbados Chattel Houses
Written by Henry Fraser and Bob Kiss.
Available at all leading book stores.

Henry Fraser A-Z Barbados Book CoverA-Z of Barbados Heritage
Written by Sean Carrington, Henry Fraser, John Gilmore and Addington Forde.
Available at Days Bookstore Barbados and

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