International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora

International Conference in Health in the African Diaspora (ICHAD 2012) brings together a broad spectrum researchers, policymakers, health and development advocates, and health journalists from across the globe. Conference participants will share critical knowledge about major health challenges confronting African descendants, including chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, mental health, healthcare access and quality, and the social determinants of health. ICHAD 2012 will have nearly 30 speakers from a dozen disciplines focusing on 14 countries, including Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and the United States. The project will produce a book comprising conference papers and will be held July 4-8 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

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Call for papers on sexual health in the Caribbean

The editors of the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy is requesting article submissions for a special issue on Sexual Health in the Caribbean.

This special issue is intended to showcase the work researchers are doing to address the multiple areas of sexual health in the Caribbean* and the Caribbean diaspora. We encourage authors to submit their work in the areas of sexuality education, sexual rights, social determinants of sexual health, sexual health promotion, HIV and other STIs, sexual diversities – including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, sexual dysfunctions, among others. We are particularly interested in papers that address the implications of sexual health research to inform policies. Submissions that advance the theoretical and methodological discussions of sexual health research and policy in the Caribbean region are also encouraged.

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PANCAP call for applications to review the interpersonal communications (IPC) strategies of social marketing organisations

CARISMA-PANCAP is requesting applications from suitably qualified consultant(s) to document and review the interpersonal communications (IPC) strategies for HIV prevention and sexual health promotion of social marketing organisations (SMOs) with selected populations in two Caribbean countries (St Lucia and the Dominican Republic), from April – September 2012. This will involve working closely with SMOs who are part of the CARISMA programme.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 21st May 2012 at 17.00 (London time)

Full proposal information, including guidelines for submission and evaluation can be found at: http://pancap.org/en/media-resources/news-group/notices/955-invitation-to-application-including-terms-of-reference-for-the-services-of-a-consultant-s-to-document-and-review-interpersonal-communications-strategies-for-hiv-prevention-and-sexual-and-reproductive-health-promotion-st-lucia-and-the-dominican-republic.html

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Call for Caribbean papers on sex education

As a budding researcher, one of the thing’s I’ve learned over the last few years is how difficult it is to locate peer-reviewed articles on public health research conducted throughout the Caribbean. Now, we know that the region has an active research base, but much of the knowledge gained from research studies seems to be locked away somewhere. Now, an international public health journal–Sex Education–is aiming to get more researchers from the region to submit their work.  Of course, one way to do that is to have an advocate in the region, and in that they have Professor Christine Barrow of Barbados, who recently joined Sex Education‘s editorial board.

Sex Education—the leading international journal on all aspects of sex, sexuality and sex and relationships education—is specifically welcoming contributions from the Caribbean.

Now in its eleventh year, the online journal has an extensive international readership. (Its content is available to developing world researchers and activists through the HINARI scheme.) Sex Education also boasts far-ranging content—everything from insight into Polish teens’ sexual initiation garnered from letters to the editor, to what tribal young men in Bangladesh know about preventing HIV.

In fact, the journal’s scope is more expansive than its title lets on. According to the publishers, “sex education takes place in a range of contexts—at home, in schools, through the media and the community.” Papers focusing on one or more of these settings, quantitative and qualitative studies as well as conceptual and historical analyses are welcome. Sex and relationships education, sexual and reproductive health and sexuality and rights are all on the agenda.

Barbados-based researcher, Professor Christine Barrow, recently became a member of the journal’s  editorial board. She says that there is quite a lot of research into adolescent sexuality being conducted in the Caribbean. However, most of it remains in the framework of knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practice (KABP) surveys.

“We know a lot about the ‘what’ of sexuality but not too much about the ‘why’,” she said. “We frame the research around individual attitudes and practices rather than looking at the structural drivers of sexuality. We’re still in a ‘risk’ mode, rather than the ‘vulnerability’ mode which takes a look into the wider environment to assess issues like gender and generational inequalities.”

Barrow said that looking upstream to answer why things are as they are will ultimately lead to better understanding of our context and more responsive programs and policies. She encourages Caribbean participation in this global process.

Inquiries may be addressed to cmbarrow3@gmail.com“>Christine Barrow and editor, p.aggleton@unsw.edu.au“>Peter Aggleton

source: PANCAP.

Can regulating our airwaves help lower NCD rates?

Coutesy of blogs.worldbank.org

The carnival season just ended for many islands  (and is beginning for others) and one of the things that struck me while listening to radio stations from Dominica is the number of advertisements for businesses pushing high-saturated fat foods and alcoholic drinks. Now, I have to say that these ads are not just a carnival phenomenon. In fact, I think they’ve become quite prevalent on our airwaves. For example, one show might be sponsored by a large distributor of alcoholic beverages. Usually within such shows, the hosts painstakingly tells listeners to ‘drink safely’ and ‘don’t drink and drive’. What I noticed about these messages is that they are often said in somber tones while the music pumps up for a lively discussion of how such and such drink is the best to have while out and about. In regards to the food ads with high-fat content, they are often lauded as quick meals to have on-the-go. Grab a pizza! Get yourself some tasty fired chicken!

These commercials reminded me of a fabulous blog I read a few months ago titled “Is fried chicken setting back development in the Caribbean?” In the write-up, Carmen and Shiyan discuss how, in trying to decide what to eat for lunch (fried chicken because it’s ubiquitous, low-cost and fast), they realized the irony of working on addressing non-communicable diseases in the region and having to swallow their guilt and eat the fried chicken for lunch.

Carmen and Shiyan write:

“This simple encounter brought to light the challenges countries and individuals face in addressing NCDs which as a group represent the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide –two-thirds of global deaths are the result of chronic diseases. In the Caribbean, the burden of NCDs has escalated to the point that five times as many people are dying from chronic diseases than from all other illnesses combined.”

As we in the region and organizations around the world fight to change the course of the burden of NCDs, we have to start thinking of what role, if any, does advertising play in our food and alcohol consumption choices? Are there any regional or national policies that regulate what companies can advertise and at what times? The regulation of food, alcohol ( and tobacco) is never an easy task. But, research shows that local and global policies developed to regular tobacco sales and use has had the greatest impact on lowering smoking rates. If anyone has examples of laws and policies from the region that address these issues, we at CaribbeanHealth.org would love to know about them.