PM Douglas makes strong call for International Development partners to support CARPHA

Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and CARICOM Lead Head of Government for Health and Human Resources addresses the CARPHA Meeting at the PAN American Health Organization (PAHO) Headquarters in Washington D.C. (PAHO Photos)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 16TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas has made a strong call for International Development Partners to throw their weight of support behind the new Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will legally establish by July of this year.

Prime Minister Douglas, who has Lead responsibility for Human Resources Development, Health and HIV and AIDS in CARICOM’s quasi-Cabinet of the Conference of Heads of Government, was delivering the feature address to a captive audience of International Development Partners and other key stakeholders at CARPHA’s Second Annual Partners’ Conference held in Washington under the theme: “Charting the Future in Health and Development in the Caribbean.”

The one-day conference which was held at the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), sought to update stakeholders on the progress towards the regional public health agency and to cement further support for the agency.

Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (left), Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and CARICOM Lead Head of Government for Health and Human Resources; Dr. Mirta Roses, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, Secretary General of CARICOM

In acknowledging the support of key partners including, the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France, Dr. Douglas pointed to the pivotal role that the regional public health agency would play in pooling much needed resources to bolster the fight against both HIV and AIDS and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases in the Caribbean.

“We who have been involved in this process know the challenges that have been encountered. There was the issue of overcoming the skeptics across the spectrum of the region and the international community, of the vision and viability the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). There was the need to convince others of the feasibility of consolidating five (5) institutions into one Agency. This is despite the evidence from a range of objective studies by the most credible sources and the careful scrutiny of the recommendations from these studies by our technical officers and decision makers,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said that evidence shows that the configuration of the public health response by the existing health institutions was not the most efficient. There were also the lessons from around the world. There were the debates within the World Health Organization on the ideals of health for all and within PAHO on equity in health. The Report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development (2006) underscored the need for revamping the Region’s approach to public health and helped to shape the underlying philosophy of CARPHA.

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