PRESS RELEASE – Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. July 2, 2015. In celebration of Caribbean Public Health Day, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has produced a half hour video presentation, which addresses violence in schools, a major regional public health concern.
Over the years, the Caribbean region has seen a steady increase in deaths due to injuries and violence resulting in premature deaths, disability, costs to the health service, lost productivity with subsequent effects on the family, community and society as a whole.
In response to this serious public health issue and a desire to confront the issue at an early age, CARPHA hosted its first ever youth panel discussion on Bullying. The symposium presented students from secondary schools in Grenada, an opportunity to talk about the problem that affects them, their peers, their communities and their country.
Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales revealed that a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that interpersonal violence, traffic injuries and suicide are the three leading causes of death among youths aged 10-19 in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
He pointed out that beyond deaths and injuries, youth violence can lead to mental health problems and increased health risk behaviours, such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, and unsafe sex.
In addition, recent surveys conducted by CARPHA reveal that from 2000-2012, 41,327 people died from injuries and violence accounting for 9.0% of the total deaths in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean.
During that same period, death from injuries and violence ranked fourth in leading cause of death after cerebrovascular disease (10.2%), diabetes mellitus (9.8%) and Ischemic Heart Disease (9.5%).
CARPHA will distribute the video entitled “Bullying: What’s the Big Deal” for broadcast in all of its 24 Member States.
The Agency hopes that this presentation will not only increase awareness, but stimulate further discussions and inspire Governments and NGOs to propose solutions to reduce incidences of violence and injuries in schools.
The Youth Panel Discussion was a special event at CARPHA’s recently concluded Health Research Conference, which was held at St. George’s University in Grenada, on Wednesday 24th June 2015.
The symposium, which was attended by more than 100 secondary school students from 5 districts in Grenada, was funded by the European Union.
In 2013, CARPHA declared July 2nd, Caribbean Public Health Day. July 2nd coincides with the anniversary of the legal establishment of CARPHA, whose mandate is to prevent disease, promote and protect the health of people of the Region through:
· responding to emergencies
· nutrition and food security
· monitoring health and disease spread
· providing laboratory services,
· conducting health research
· assuring environmental health and pharmaceutical quality.