PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 15, CMC – The executive director of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. C. James Hospedales, says the regional response to the grave threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCD) must be intensified immediately if the health, well-being and development gains of Caribbean people are to be protected.
“The areas of collaboration are aligned with CARPHA’s strategic priorities such as childhood obesity and other NCDs, communicable diseases and health security and the Caribbean Cooperation in Health,” Dr. Hospedales said at the signing of a Euro 1.5 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) agreement with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The agreement aims to strengthen strategic intelligence and partnership approaches to prevent and control NCDs and strengthen regional health security in the Caribbean.
The objectives of the agreement include improving the availability and use of NCDs and related population risk factor data, in CARPHA member states (CMS) and at the regional level.
The project has three components, namely NCD, which includes the update and implementation of clinical guidelines for hypertension and diabetes and the Regional Health Security allowing for communicable disease surveillance, and vector control and surveillance.
The third component addresses partnerships, and includes partnership, brokering and negotiation training; and formalise cooperation between CMS and the French Caribbean Outermost Regions (FCOR) on data collection and analysis as well as in other fields of cross expertise.
The accord was signed by Dr. Hospedales and Philippe La Cognata, the AFD Regional Director for Atlantic Ocean.
“This is a good reflection of solidarity. We are combining the CARPHA umbrella of member states with Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana to have an increased regional health security response to threats, and matters associated with climate and environment, tourism and communicable diseases,’ Dr. Hospedales said.
La Cognata said his organisation considers CARPHA a major player in the region regarding public health issues, adding “for our agency, CARPHA is a quality counterpart and we are looking forward to strengthening our partnership over the years to come”.
The French Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Serge Lavroff, said that the partnership marks the firm commitment of the AFD to the region “and the strong will to strengthen the links with it and work more closely with the various cooperation stakeholders.
“In this regard, health and health issues constitute, in our view, one of the main challenges that the Caribbean must overcome in the coming years and CARPHA is the right stakeholder for us to join forces with,” he added.
The chair of CARPHA executive board and Trinidad and Tobago Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, said he was pleased with the cooperation agreement, adding “no one can do it alone. It has to be a team effort. Diseases know absolutely no boundaries and we could only prevent and control diseases through collaborative efforts and agencies like this.
“CARPHA already has the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) and Dutch as member states, and what this marriage will do is deepen the relationship between CARPHA and the French in the Caribbean, and I hope countries like Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, will become full-fledged members of CARPHA.”