CARPHA to receive additional support to fight COVID-19

The In­ter-Amer­i­can De­vel­op­ment Bank (IDB) has ap­proved a US$750,000 (TT$5.1 mil­lion) grant to sup­port the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA) in the co­or­di­na­tion of the re­gion­al health re­sponse to the coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) pan­dem­ic.

The grant is be­ing fi­nanced by the IDB Japan Spe­cial Fund, which was first es­tab­lished in 1988 by the Gov­ern­ment of Japan to fos­ter so­cial and eco­nom­ic growth through­out the IDB’s bor­row­ing mem­ber coun­tries. As of April 2020, Japan has al­ready com­mit­ted more than US$230 mil­lion to this fund.

“Co­or­di­na­tion is of ut­most im­por­tance in this fight against the spread of COVID-19 and CARPHA con­tin­ues to play a crit­i­cal role in keep­ing with their in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal man­date from CARI­COM,” said His Ex­cel­len­cy Tat­suo Hi­raya­ma, Am­bas­sador of Japan to the Re­pub­lic of Trinidad and To­ba­go. “What is a threat to one coun­try in the Caribbean is a threat to all.”

The grant will sup­port CARPHA to work with Bar­ba­dos, Be­lize, Guyana, Ja­maica, and Trinidad and To­ba­go to en­hance their COVID-19 de­tec­tion abil­i­ties, mo­bi­lize surge re­sponse ca­pac­i­ty and strength­en re­al-time dis­ease sur­veil­lance and re­sponse. This will be done over the next two years and a por­tion of the grant will al­so be di­rect­ed at strength­en­ing CARPHA’s lab­o­ra­to­ry ca­pac­i­ty to meet the ad­di­tion­al COVID-19 spec­i­men-test­ing de­mands from their 26 mem­ber states. These in­ter­ven­tions will trans­late in­to CARPHA main­tain­ing ef­fi­cient turn-around times for sam­ple test­ing on a 24/7 ba­sis, the es­tab­lish­ment and train­ing of rapid re­sponse teams, ex­pan­sion of their Re­gion­al Tourism and Trav­el­ers Health Pro­gram, cre­ation of a Caribbean trav­el health app and strength­en­ing hu­man re­source ca­pac­i­ty.

“COVID-19 has up­end­ed coun­tries across the world, many lives have un­for­tu­nate­ly been lost al­ready and the pan­dem­ic is sig­nif­i­cant­ly chal­leng­ing Caribbean economies,” said Rocío Med­i­na-Bolí­var, IDB Group Coun­try Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Trinidad and To­ba­go. “This grant is di­rect­ly aligned with the IDB Group’s COVID-19 re­sponse and is one of many mea­sures we have tak­en to sup­port Gov­ern­ments and safe­guard cit­i­zens across our bor­row­ing mem­ber coun­tries in the Caribbean.”

As it re­lates to re­spond­ing to the health pri­or­i­ties of the Caribbean, the IDB has worked with CARPHA in the past and most re­cent­ly sup­port­ed the ex­pan­sion of CARPHA’s re­gion­al tourism health in­for­ma­tion, sur­veil­lance and mon­i­tor­ing and re­sponse sys­tem.

Sim­i­lar­ly, to that in­ter­ven­tion, the IDB team on the ground in Trinidad and To­ba­go will work close­ly with CARPHA to ex­e­cute the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of this grant which will fur­ther strength­en the Caribbean’s re­gion­al health re­sponse to the pan­dem­ic.

About the IDB

The In­ter-Amer­i­can De­vel­op­ment Bank is a lead­ing source of long-term fi­nanc­ing for eco­nom­ic, so­cial and in­sti­tu­tion­al projects in Latin Amer­i­ca and the Caribbean. Be­sides loans, grants and guar­an­tees, the IDB con­ducts cut­ting-edge re­search to of­fer in­no­v­a­tive and sus­tain­able so­lu­tions to our re­gion’s most press­ing chal­lenges. Found­ed in 1959 to help ac­cel­er­ate progress in its de­vel­op­ing mem­ber coun­tries, the IDB con­tin­ues to work every day to im­prove lives.

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