GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), hereby acknowledges “Caribbean Public Health Day (CPHD)” which was observed on July 2nd, which marks the legal establishment of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
CPS would like to take this opportunity to commend CARPHA for its important role that it plays in combating infectious and non-infectious diseases in collaboration with regional island public health agencies.
CARPHA is a regional agency which focuses on sensitizing Caribbean people about the importance of public health and the contribution it makes to the socio-economic development in the Region.
According to a statement from CARPHA to mark the occasion, it said that the regional agency works to advance the public health of the Region in several ways, including monitoring health and disease spread and responding to emergencies, laboratory services, nutrition and food security, health research, environmental health and pharmaceutical quality.
The statement adds that CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) has been actively involved in the regional response to COVID-19.
As the regional reference laboratory, the CMML conducts tests for suspected COVID-19 cases for Member States using the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended testing protocol.
CARPHA’s specialised laboratories provide support for the surveillance, prevention, promotion and control of important public health problems in the Region.
CARPHA engages in ongoing skills-building, collaboration and professional supervision that enhance national capacities to deliver public health goods and services.
CARPHA also coordinates responses to public health crisis in the Caribbean by: Providing staff for prompt help and advice on disease prevention and control strategies in outbreak and epidemic situations; Coordinating health input for emergency situations in countries after natural disasters e.g. post flood provision of medical staff and supplies, environmental health issues – training, water quality monitoring and management etc.
The agency also provides laboratory support to outbreak investigations to confirm aetiology and monitor trends; and provides support for specific planning for food security esp. important given food price crisis, climate change and move towards biological fuels.
The agency continues to work closely with its Member States (CMS) and Caribbean coordinating partners and mechanisms to respond to the threat.
“The pandemic has increased the burden on health care systems in countries. In response to further improve public health capacities in the Region, CARPHA in collaboration with other Caribbean coordinating partners and international public health partners, have been working to further strengthen and enhance the public health systems and institutional capacity in CARPHA Member States,” the statement said in pointing out the agency’s regional role.
The Region continues to be plagued with noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, as well as the second leading cause of death, which is cancer.