IDB contributes US$750K to support CARPHA’s COVID-19 response in the Caribbean

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Regent Street amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Guyana

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) received a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to promote regional health security through the coordination of the regional health response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This grant is a demonstration of IDB’s continued commitment to CARPHA  for supporting regionally integrated efforts to address common health and economic issues impacting on the sustainability of Caribbean economies.

The grant, which was signed 5 June 2020, is made available through the IDB Japan Special Fund.

The funds valued at US$750,000 will support the enhancement of Laboratory Response Capacity at CARPHA, mobilise surge and strengthen real-time disease surveillance and response through the CARPHA Regional Travelers Health Program (THP) for all 26 of the Agency’s Member States.

In addition, it will strengthen countries’ COVID-19 detection capacities in participating countries (Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago).

CARPHA is leading the regional health response to COVID-19, in keeping with its Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and mandate as a  CARICOM institution and recommendations from the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)-Health Working Group on Regional Coordination for Response Management.

“The beneficiary countries will gain from CARPHA’s collective public health epidemiology and disease surveillance and prevention knowledge, convening capacity and project management expertise in coordinating their individual responses to the COVID-19 virus.  However,  it is expected that the outputs and work conducted under this grant will be shared with all CARPHA Member States (CMS) which include the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; and in keeping with its mandate, CARPHA will work with its Member States in both their collective and individual COVID-19 responses,”  said Dr Joy St John, CARPHA Executive Director.

Early information is the key to rapid response in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 cases.   This grant will fund the expansion of CARPHA’s Regional Travelers Health Program (THP) and the modification of its early warning and response surveillance Travel Health information System (THiS) to participating countries to facilitate real-time reporting, monitoring, and response to COVID-19.  This component will also facilitate the development and implementation of the Caribbean travel health mobile app for real time information sharing.

The grant will also support the training of Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in participating countries to provide regional and national responses to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies.  Transportation and shipping of COVID-19 laboratory specimens to CARPHA for testing will also be supported.

Activities under that grant are expected to kick off from July 2020 and run until June 2022.