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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkey, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will commence formal operations in January 2013. Dr Carl Hospedales, a Trinidad and Tobago National and highly respected public health professional has been selected as its new Executive Director. This announcement was made by the Chair of CARPHA Executive Board, the Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Minister of Health, Jamaica.

During his remarks at the Opening Session of the Sixth Executive Board of CARPHA, the Hon. Dr Fuad Khan, Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago identified the significant strides made to bring CARPHA on stream, as well as the commitment of Trinidad and Tobago in hosting the Agency.

The Board made critical decisions related to staffing, human resource transition, legal procedures, resource mobilization strategies, proposed collaboration between PANCAP and CARPHA. More specifically, decisions were taken on the development of laboratory activities, recruitment of senior staff, update on change management procedures for CARPHA staff members, financing the work programme, approval of a research agenda, the establishment of an integrated management system, an information technological framework and the CARPHA logo.

CARPHA is the consolidation of five (5) Regional Health Institutions— Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC), Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL) and Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) — into one agency. All speakers including Ms Myrna Bernard, representing CARICOM Secretariat and Dr Ernest Pate representing PAHO/WHO paid tribute to the Directors of these institutions as well as to the sterling role of PAHO, especially its Director, Dr. Mirta Roses for her contribution to the transition process. Tributes were also paid to Dr Jerome Walcott, Interim Executive Director.

CARPHA also acknowledged the tremendous support received from various partners so far including US $2M from the European Union (EU), US$800,000 from the Public Health Agency of Canada , US 200,000 from the United Kingdom, a high level Bio safety Laboratory of US$2.5M from Canada and a grant for epidemiology training of US$5M from the Centre of Disease Control(CDC)/ The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In addition, Member States will make annual contributions to CARPHA’s operational budget and other creative sources of financing, including the establishment of a trust fund which is being proposed to ensure CARPHA’s long term sustainability.

Released by CARPHA Executive Board
14 December 2012

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