PM Douglas successful in getting international endorsement for CARPHA

PM Douglas

ST. KITTS, JUNE 17TH 2010 (CUOPM) – Another feather in the cap of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and CARICOM’s spokesperson on HIV/AIDS and other health matters, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

During a meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister successfully received the endorsement of several international partners for the proposed Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which is expected to rationalize the Caribbean regional public health services.

The new agency which is to become fully operational in 2015 will provide a collective response to public health emergencies and disasters and on-going public health development needs for the people of the Caribbean, according to a press release from the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Guyana.

CARPHA will begin operating on a phased basis from December 2010. It will combine and build on the functions of the Caribbean’s five Regional Health Institutions: Caribbean Epidemiological Research Centre (CAREC); Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC); Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI); Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI); and Caribbean Drug Testing Regional Laboratory (CDTRL).

The Partners Conference in Washington on Monday was chaired by Guyana’s Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy at the PAHO/ WHO Headquarters in Washington DC.

The forum brought together international delegations from the governments of USA, Canada, France, UK, Sweden; the global organizations, including the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Tourism Organization as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Director of the Pan American Health Organisation, PAHO/WHO, Dr. Mirta Roses and more than 25 international partners gave their full approval to the new agency, the release stated.

Prime Minister Douglas, whose country has lead responsibility for Human Resources, Health and HIV/AIDS within the Quasi Cabinet of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government, gave the keynote address.

He emphasized how this single voice for Caribbean public health would assist the international community in working with the region, and in implementing international health guidelines.

The CARICOM Secretariat will now coordinate the development of the resource mobilization plan for CARPHA, for presentation to the Caribbean Community Caucus of Ministers of Health for approval at the end of September 2010.

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Edward Greene has described the proposed creation of CARPHA as “an investment in the health of the people of the Caribbean.”

Dr. Greene was giving remarks at the opening session of the forum in Washington on Monday where a platform was provided for strategic advocacy in engaging partners in discussions that will garner technical and financial support for the establishment and sustainability of CARPHA.

Dr. Greene told international development partners and other delegates at the forum that when the CARICOM Heads of Government approved the establishment of CARPHA at their Inter-Sessional Meeting in March 2010, it marked a significant step in the history of public health development in the CARICOM region.

The creation of this new institution, the Assistant Secretary-General explained, would serve to demonstrate further the invaluable role that regional institutions play in advancing the regional integration process. Initiatives such as CARPHA, Dr. Greene added, would help to cement the effectiveness of the ambitious vision and mission to achieve a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) by 2015.

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