Skip to content

Ronnie Bissessar

Candidate for Members at Large
A portrait image of Ronnie Bissessar

Ronnie Bissessar

Candidacy Motivation and Relevance

I genuinely believe that I have a role to play as a Member at Large of the WHF in inter alia assisting in the formulation and implementation of global health policies in relation to heart health.

In my various roles over the last 25 years (as President of the Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation (TTHF), Director of the Inter-American Heart Foundation (IAHF), Director of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and Deputy Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance) I have led national and regional campaigns to aggressively promote heart health throughout the Caribbean and to encourage its 15 million citizens (est.) to take action to protect their health and to take responsibility for the heart health of their households.

I have also been a Patient Advocate for changes in legislation to implement the Declaration of Port of Spain signed by Caribbean Governments on 15th September 2007 which was intended to reduce the epidemic of chronic NCDs in small-island states.

This is in the context that in Trinidad and Tobago with a population of 1.4M, heart disease remain the leading cause of premature deaths (over 3,200 annually) with the risk factors being, principally, the harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, salt/sodium intake, tobacco use, raised blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and ambient air pollution.

Moreover, the need to promote heart healthy lifestyles has prompted the TTHF (of which I am President) to convene and sustain several Go Red for Women campaigns and, at a regional level, I have actively participated in numerous fora to underscore the need for reliable and updated statistics to underpin national health policies and research.

I have also presented on Health Policies and Health Governance regionally including the delivery of a Paper in March 2019 to HCC Members styled Managing Conflict of Interest in Health Policies in the Caribbean. Similarly, I have assisted the IAHF to devise Protocols to reduce the likelihood of Conflicts of Interest for its members and I continue, having regard to my role as an Attorney at Law for over 29 years, to use my training to encourage formal learning methodologies to inform the roll out of national and regional NCD policies and to tweak them to reflect contemporary data and lifestyle changes.

Having said that, while I am not a Health Practitioner (though I am married to one), for four (4) years I was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the largest Regional Health Authority in Trinidad and Tobago with operational oversight of all health care facilities (hospitals, research centres and health centres) serving over 600,000 citizens.

In that role, I was able, for the first time, to have a proper appreciation of the challenges faced by health care professionals and administrators to provide basic health care while advocating for the implementation of health policies consistent with international best practices.