The first countries to sign the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for the establishment of CARPHA were: Antigua, Barbuda, Belize, St. Kitts Nevis, St. Lucia and Grenada at the 28th Meeting of the CARICOM Council which was held at Georgetown, Guyana, on 28th May, 2011. However the body will not be legally established until early July, 2011.
Speaking at his monthly press conference held at the Parliamentary Lounge, Government Headquarters yesterday (22nd July), Dr. Douglas said the establishment of CARPHA is critical at this stage as the Caribbean is attempting to address issues related to a list of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
“The Caribbean has to move and move with purpose to get both communicable and non-communicable diseases under control. This makes CARPHA absolutely essential since this particular institution will make the pooling of resources, the securing of efficiencies and other benefits associated with economies of scale very much possible. And all of this will dramatically improve every CARICOM nation’s ability to deliver an improved healthcare product to the respective populaces.”
Dr. Douglas explained to the media that a major asset in a country’s forecasts of growth is a physically and mentally-sound populace and that and this would be promoted by and through CARPHA. He said he recently met with representatives of the international community, where he explained the importance of the body.
“This is why as both a physician and an elected official, the establishment of a Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA)…remains one of my utmost priorities. This is why I also travelled to Washington just last week to address representatives of France, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and some 40-odd other international partners on the importance of this body CARPHA…
“My main message in Washington was that partnership between CARICOM and the International Community vis-à-vis CARPHA is key. CARPHA, that is the Caribbean Public Health Agency, reflects our understanding of the importance of expanding laboratory facilities, enhanced health-related intelligence capabilities, heightened research and development wherewithal, and expanded corps of Caribbean healthcare practitioners.”
The legal agreement for the establishment of CARPHA is scheduled to be formally signed on 4th July, 2011 during the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting which will take place in St. Kitts.