The Caribbean Cooperation in Health Initiative (CCH) was developed within the framework of functional cooperation. It was adopted by CARICOM Health Ministers in 1984 to optimize the utilization of resources, promote technical cooperation among member countries, and to develop and secure funding for the implementation of projects in priority health areas. The concept promotes collective and collaborative action to solve critical health problems best addressed through a regional approach, rather than by individual country action. The initiative was approved by CARICOM Heads of Government in 1986 when CCH Phase I was launched.

Over the years, special efforts were made to promote partnerships with national, regional and international agencies to secure additional resources for the collective programmes. In this process, the Pan American Health Organization / the Americas Regional Office of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), has been the major partner and has provided technical and financial resources.

The Caribbean Cooperation in Health III (2009-2015)

The strategic framework for CCH Phase 3 (CCH III), charges it with the responsibility of investing in the health of people in the Region, to ensure the highest attainable socio-economic development, to reduce inequalities in health and to mobilise traditional and non-traditional stakeholders in tackling health challenges and building sustainable health systems.

Please see related documents below

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

In 2002, in line with the CCH priorities, the 15 Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) mandated the CARICOM Secretariat to begin a review of the Regional Health Institutions (RHIs) to determine how they could better serve the health needs of the Caribbean region. This review, through a systematic evaluation and options analysis, explored the roles of the five existing RHIs1 in the Caribbean, and also looked at how the health needs of the Region could be better met. The Canadian firm Universalia and other consultants, including Prof. Christopher Bartlett of the U.K. and Dr. Ronald St. John of Canada were recruited by PAHO to assist with various aspects of this process.

Three options were considered, with members identifying the development of a single Public Health Agency for the Caribbean as the best way forward. This was agreed by CARICOM Ministers in 2007 and with the support of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), a Steering Committee and Project Management Team were created to develop and implement plans for the establishment of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). The CARICOM Heads of Government approved the plans for the implementation of CARPHA on the 12th March 2010. The CARPHA Implementation Plan maps out the establishment of a fully functional agency by the latter half of 2014.

When CARPHA is established it will integrate the functions and administration of the existing five Caribbean Regional Health Institutions (RHIs), the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL) and the Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC)). The proposed agency will rationalize the functions of the current RHIs and have a more comprehensive mandate in addressing the public health needs of the wider Caribbean Region.

The Caribbean Region, like the Developed countries, has to be ever mindful of the threat of new and emerging infectious diseases, dependent as many of our islands are on tourism for their economic survival. While recognizing, that tourism can also be the entry point for communicable diseases to the Developed world. Hence, there is an urgent need for the Region to strengthen its systems for response to outbreaks, its health response to emergencies and disasters; as exemplified by the recent earthquake in Haiti and to implement the International Health Regulations (IHRs). The proposed functions of CARPHA include all of these very important areas.


1  The 5 RHIs are CAREC, CFNI, CHRC, CEHI and CRDTL.

CARPHA’s Vision

CARPHA’s Mission

Governance and Management arrangements and Proposed Governance Structure of CARPHA

Objectives of CARPHA

CARPHA Implementation Timetable

Phase Timeline Milestone
Preparation March 2010 Approval by CARICOM Heads of Government
Establishment April 2010 to
March 2011
Recruitment of implementation team, Legal Establishment (Dec 2010), Executive Board established, Contracting of Staff (after Dec 2010) Integrated management system, strategic planning.
Consolidation April 2011 to
March 2014
Implementing new systems and regional wide approach on public health, continued staff hiring, construction of facility, procuring of equipment, ongoing resource mobilisation.
Collocation April 2010 to
March 2015
Physical collocation of personnel on CARPHA Campus in Trinidad and Tobago

Related documents:

CCH III:  Communicable Diseases
CCH III:  Environmental Health
CCH III:  Food and Nutrition
CCH III: Human Resource Development
CCH III:  Mental Health
CCH III:  Strengthening Health Systems
CCH III:  Summary

PAHO/WHO Sub-regional Cooperation Strategy for the Caribbean.   Summary

Supporting the establishment of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) : Healthier, Happier Horizons for All (PowerPoint presentation)


Partnering to make CARPHA a Reality: Remarks by Dr. The Honorable Denzil L. Douglas,  Prime Minister, St Kitts/Nevis

Remarks by Dr Edward Greene Assistant Secretary-General Human and Social Development Caribbean Community Secretariat

Press releases:

Caribbean Public Health Agency an investment in the health of the Region - CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General

International partners endorse new Caribbean Public Health Agency

CARPHA: advancing the regional public health agenda, an imperative.   CARICOM seeks support from international development partners



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