St. Kitts – Nevis PM Leads Annual CARPHA Conference Meeting

St. Kitts - Nevis' PM - Dr. Denzil Douglas

St. Kitts – Nevis’ PM – Dr. Denzil Douglas
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
June 13, 2011 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and CARICOM’s lead Head of Government with responsibility for Health, Human Resources and HIV/AIDS, the Honourable Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, discussed the objectives for the  Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA) at the Second annual Partners of CARPHA Conference.

The meeting, which is taking place at the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Headquarters in Washington on Monday involves CARICOM, International Development Partners and other key stakeholders and is aimed at securing more support for CARPHA which is a regional public health agency in the context of regional and international imperatives for health and development.

The CARPHA Steering Committee, led by Guyana’s Minister of Health, Dr. the Honourable Leslie Ramsammy updated partners on the status of implementation and plans to sustain that regional body, even while seeking continued international support for this step-change in public health in the Region.

At Monday’s opening ceremony, CARICOM’s Acting Secretary General, Ambassador Applewhaite, told the meeting of more than 30 partners including Canada, France, the US and the United Kingdom that the transformation of the health sector would create an enabling environment in which the economic drivers could perform more effectively and attract further investments for economic growth.

“The vision for CARPHA is one of creating an environment in which our economies could draw on a pool of healthy workers. And also one in which our citizens, as well as visitors to our shores, could be guaranteed good public health facilities and regulations,” she explained.

CARICOM Heads of Government in March 2010 approved the establishment of CARPHA to rationalise the regional public health sector to make it more efficient, effective and viable. This feat requires bringing the five regional public health agencies under one governance umbrella, pooling resources and building on existing public health knowledge and expertise across the Caribbean in order to prevent duplication of efforts and resources.

And according to Ambassador Applewhaite, it is only by “pooling our resources and sharing services, that our small-sized economies could provide sustainable, first rate public health functions for our people.” CARPHA’s partners and stakeholders have agreed that by enhancing population and individual health, CARPHA will boost economic and social development, which would ultimately redound to a better quality of life for the Community.

It is against this background that the acting CARICOM Secretary-General stressed the need for continued partnerships, noting that “CARPHA is consistent with the new modalities for achieving cost effectiveness and value for money that has become a clarion call by most development agencies and no less so for us in the Caribbean Community.”

She further acknowledged the support of all the partners to date – particularly PAHO – for what she called “demonstrated commitment to the implementation process, intent on guaranteeing that CARPHA becomes a reality.”

With the mechanisms now in place for the signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), it is expected that CARPHA will be legally established by July 2011. Already, five Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia ““ have signed the IGA.

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