Three CARICOM nations to sign CARPHA agreement in St. Kitts on July 4th

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (left) along with CARICOM’s Acting Secretary General, Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewaithe (third from the left) at a recent CARPHA meeting in Washington, D.C.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 29TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The new Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will become a legal entity on 4th July, 2011 as the CARICOM Heads of Government sign the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that provides the legal basis for the new Agency.

The ceremonial signing will take place at the 32nd Conference of Heads of Government in St Kitts and Nevis on Monday 4th July.

Eight countries need to sign the IGA for it to come into force. Five Countries have already signed the IGA; Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis. Three countries, Bahamas, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago have given written assurances to sign on 4 July.

Speaking ahead of the historic signing, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, who is also CARICOM’s Lead Head for Human Resources, Health, HIV and AIDS said:

“The creation of CARPHA, is not just about a new institution, it is a commitment to our people, our visitors, our international counterparts in health and development, for a healthier, forward-looking Caribbean that plays its role effectively in tackling the public health aspects of disease, disaster and lifestyle challenges in an increasingly globalised world.”

He said that the CARPHA represents a once in a generation development, for the benefit of every generation to come.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will provide a collective response to public health challenges for the residents and visitors to the Caribbean, including the public health aspects of disasters and longer-term problems associated with lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, cancer and heart disease.

The signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement means that CARPHA’s Executive Board can be appointed, allowing the new agency to: Have an approval mechanism, mobilise and Manage Resources and allow the implementation team to be recruited.

It also means that the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) will have the basis to develop a legal agreement for transfer, allowing PAHO institutions, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) and the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), to become part of CARPHA.

The decision to create the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) was made by the CARICOM Heads of Government in March 2010. It is expected to begin operations on a phased basis from 2012.

CARPHA will combine and build on the functions of the Caribbean’s five Regional Health Institutes; Caribbean Epidemiological Research Center (CAREC); Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC); Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI); Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI); Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL). The new agency will be located in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago from 2014. Further information: www.carpha.org.

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