Resource support

CARPHA obtains support to strengthen its response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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CARICOM Member States are set to benefit from a fund to strengthen health systems to prevent, control and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging and re-emerging threats.

The fund will also support the generation of evidence and information to inform decision-making on the management of public health priorities and emergencies and disease programs and policies.

Project funding “Strengthening Health Systems for CARICOM Members States must respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging and re-emerging threats” is provided by the Kingdom of Spain through the Common Fund for Scientific and Technical Cooperation CARICOM-Spain, through the Secretariat of CARICOM.

With this grant worth USD 1,189,247.00, CARPHA will be able to carry out a series of interventions for the benefit of its Member States.

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The launch of the project took place on June 9, 2022, at the headquarters of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Dr St. John expressed his gratitude to the Kingdom of Spain for their support, saying: “We at CARPHA are pleased to have been entrusted with the stewardship of these resources for the benefit of our Member States. With these resources, CARPHA will develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for COVID-19 in the Caribbean and establish a regional COVID-19 data repository. The desired outcome of this intervention is for Member States to use data from the COVID-19 repository to inform decision-making at the national level.

The project also enables the purchase and distribution of personal protective equipment, equipment and supplies for testing, including reagents and supplies to perform whole genome sequencing, COVID-19 test kits and supporting reagents, automated PCR sample extraction equipment and transportation, and laboratory sample shipping. to CARPHA for testing to support ongoing laboratory surveillance and outbreak support for COVID-19 and other emerging and re-emerging threats.

In 1999, relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Kingdom of Spain were strengthened through the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement following the first CARICOM-Spain Summit held in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Kingdom of Spain has been a long-standing partner and continues to support the Community’s efforts in the areas of health, industry, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, education and culture, the teaching of Spanish, the training of diplomats and scientific and technological research.

Dr. Douglas Slater, CARICOM Under-Secretary General for Human and Social Development, said: “The Community gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Spain. This project is timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly weakened the region’s already fragile health systems. The pandemic has taught us that we need to consider overhauling our healthcare systems, to make them resilient to future pandemics and other epidemics.

Dr Slater, speaking on behalf of Dr Carla Barnett, Secretary General of CARICOM, further said: “To achieve this, we need to focus on expanding the pool of trained health personnel; develop digital health systems; strengthen vaccine development and regulatory capacity in the region and build health systems around primary and community health care models linked to centers of excellence. As a region, we cannot achieve them alone. Partnerships like this with Spain are essential to facilitate the achievement of these goals.

In his remarks, His Excellency Fernando Nogales, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said that strengthening health systems was key to maintaining the confidence the Region has earned as a destination tourist safe.

His Excellency reaffirmed that the Kingdom of Spain is very aware of the specific needs of the Caribbean region and stands ready to support projects such as this which will have a clear impact on human development.

The Spain-CARICOM project will aim to ensure that decision-makers receive timely and accurate information to guide data-driven public health interventions.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roshan Parasram delivered a speech on behalf of the Honorable Terrance Deyalsingh, Minister of Health of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Strong health systems not only strengthen the supply and delivery of quality health care to CARICOM residents and citizens, but can also limit the potentially harmful and irrevocable effects of current and future pandemics.

Strengthening CARICOM health systems against COVID-19 and other emerging and re-emerging threats should not be an option but a priority. The pandemic has reiterated that health security cannot be seen as a cost, but rather as an ongoing investment necessary for stability and sustainability.

During the 2-year project, CARPHA will develop an integrated digital monitoring and evaluation platform and repository to improve monitoring of regional and international health goals such as the Caribbean Cooperation in Health Four (CCH-IV ) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, for CARICOM Member States.

Resources acquired through the project have already been used to provide laboratory diagnostic testing services to Member States.

Source: Caribbean Public Health Agency. Main photo: archive image

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