CARPHA, a fitting success to Nassau Declaration

Former PAHO Director General, Dr. George Alleyne (right) and CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (third from left); watch Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar (second from left) sign the CARPHA document. Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development the European Union (second from left) and Acting CARICOM Secretary General, Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite also look on. Standing are Trinidad and Tobago’s Foreign Minister Hon. Suruj Rambacham (left) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade and Industry Minister, Trade and Industry Minister Hon. Stephen Cadiz (right).

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 5TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Chairman of the Caribbean Community, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said the coming into force of the agreement establishing the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is a fitting success of the 10th anniversary of the Nassau Declaration which emphasises that the “Health of the Region, is the Wealth of the Region.”

Dr. Douglas, who has lead portfolio responsibility for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS in the Quasi-cabinet of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government – announced at the closing ceremony of the 32nd Regular Conference of the Caribbean Heads of Government that the new Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA) was now a legally established entity, following the ceremonial signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Saturday 2, July.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar signed the document on Saturday in the presence of CARICO Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Kits and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas; Dr. George Alleyne and Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development the European Union.

CARPHA was the third and final component of the 2001 Nassau Declaration to be realised – the other two being the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) and the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH).

Former PAHO Director General, Dr. George Alleyne (right) congratulates Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar on signing the CARPHA document. Others in photo are CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (third from left); Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development the European Union (second from left) and Acting CARICOM Secretary General, Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite. (Photos by Erasmus Williams)

This agency should improve the delivery of health care in the region by merging the core functions of the five regional health institutions – Caribbean Epidemiological Research Center (CAREC); Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC); Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI); Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI); Caribbean Drug Testing Regional Laboratory (CDTRL).

The Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis pointed to the significant role of the Community in the impending United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases prevention and noted that this issue had been given priority attention as the Region prepared its high-level delegation for that special session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) in September.

One of the major issues that the Community wants to include on the agenda of the high level meeting is the formulation of appropriate policies to address risk factors, such as tobacco, alcohol, diet and lack of physical exercises in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles among its peoples.

The Caribbean Community has been deemed the front-runner in the fight against chronic NCDS, since its first ever Summit in NCDs in 2007, and was largely instrumental in lobbying for the resolution that spawned this special meeting to address the pressing health problem of NCDs, which cause an average of over 70 percent of the deaths, globally.

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