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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which started its operations this month under Interim Director, Dr. Jerome Walcott, former Minister of Health, Barbados was a subject of discussion at the Council of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, held during the Market Place Conference in Nassau The Bahamas on 22 January 2012

After receiving a presentation by Dr. Edward Greene, Coordinator of the CARPHA Resource Mobilization Committee on its vision, mission and developments, the CTO Council agreed that there were several areas for collaboration with this new Agency. These include using its information and communications system to increase the awareness of CARPHA and the public health agenda for the Region, join forces to reduce the threats of health and environmental threats for the sustainability of healthy tourism and supporting CARPHA’s surveillance programme. The specific activities to be promoted are accurate and timely information on trends and health risks, disease prevention and control, detection of and response to health emergencies and establishing standards for managing and monitoring information and international health regulations

CARPHA which already has attracted a wide range of partners in Canada, UK, the European Union, USA and Brazil, has received an undertaking from the CTO of its willingness to be engaged in training and capacity building for workers in the tourism sector in the areas of food safety, environmental management and monitoring and promoting the Wellness Revolution in the Caribbean. It also agreed that Mr. Hugh Riley, CTO President will represent the organization on CARPHA Executive Board. These and other matters will be discussed at the 3rd Meeting of CARPHA’s Executive Board to be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in early March 2012

Honourable Ricky Skerrit, Minister of Tourism St Kitts/ Nevis Chair of the CTO Council, commended the Caribbean Community “for taking this bold step to create a viable public health agency that would no doubt be of great benefit to the people of the region and in particular to those in the tourism business”.

Notes: CARPHA is a consolidation of the following five Regional Health institutions into one agency: Caribbean Epidemiological Centre (CAREC). Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), Caribbean Health Research Centre (CHRC) , Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) and Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL)

CARICOM Heads of Government ratified CARPHA by signing the inter-Governmental Agreement in July 2011 making the agency a legal entity CARPHA’s operation has begun with a small 5-person Implementation Team and will gradually expand the range of its operations leading to the integration of staff of the 5 RHIs into CARPHA by January 2013. An Executive Director is to be appointed by June ,2012

Trinidad and Tobago has agreed to host CARPHA and new facilities for laboratory and research, surveillance and administration functions are scheduled to be completed by the end 2014. In the meantime CARPHA’s main activities would be hosted at CAREC.

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