Jamacia Observer-The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) received a grant valued at US$750,000 from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to promote regional health security through the coordination of the regional health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant, signed on June 5, is made available through the IDB Japan Special Fund.

It will support the enhancement of Laboratory Response Capacity at CARPHA, mobilise surge and strengthen real-time disease surveillance and response through the CARPHA Regional Travellers’ Health Program (THP) for all 26 of the agency’s member states. This component will also facilitate the development and implementation of the Caribbean travel health mobile app for real-time information sharing.

The agency said the grant will also strengthen countries’ COVID-19 detection capacities in participating countries such as Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

“The beneficiary countries will gain from CARPHA’s collective public health epidemiology and disease surveillance and prevention knowledge, convening capacity and project management expertise in coordinating their individual responses to the COVID-19 virus.  However, it is expected that the outputs and work conducted under this grant will be shared with all CARPHA member states which include the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; and in keeping with its mandate, CARPHA will work with its member states in both their collective and individual COVID-19 responses,”  said Dr Joy St John, CARPHA executive director. 

The grant will also support the training of rapid response teams (RRTs) in participating countries to provide regional and national responses to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies, the agency added. Transportation and shipping of COVID-19 laboratory specimens to CARPHA for testing will also be supported. 

The agency said activities under that grant are expected to start in July 2020 and run until June 2022.

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