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Communicable Diseases

Background

CARPHA works in a range of areas to strengthen regional public health surveillance, preparedness and response to communicable diseases. These include outbreak-prone diseases, emerging and re-emerging diseases.

CARPHA is equipped to investigate and manage communicable diseases through its high skilled technical staff, a network of laboratories (Medical Microbiology, Environmental Health and Medicines Quality), a variety of specialized units such as an experimental mosquito colony, several epidemiological databases that are maintained within a local area network infrastructure and an active preventive maintenance unit.

Among the diseases routinely investigated are:

  • Vaccine preventable diseases (EPI)
  • HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease
  • Vector borne diseases (Dengue fever, Malaria, Leptospirosis, Plague, Rabies and Yellow Fever)
  • Food and water borne diseases (Gastroenteritis, diseases caused by Salmonella, Norovirus, Ciguatera, Campylobacter, Shigella and E. Coli)
  • Air borne diseases (Influenza-like illnesses, fever and respiratory symptoms and tuberculosis)
  • Other diseases and syndromes of interest (Leprosy, Viral Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal infection, Viral Encephalitis/Meningitis, Fever and Neurological Symptoms
    This grouping includes the re-emerging diseases like tuberculosis in association with HIV/AIDS, and new and emerging communicable diseases that are can become endemic in the region.

Key Activities

CARPHA’s role is in:

  • The surveillance of communicable diseases.
  • Provide technical advice and capacity building for CMS.
  • Provide Technical support and surge capacity to CMS responding to public health emergencies
  • Develop policies and guidelines to enable a uniformed approach to communicable diseases surveillance, prevention and response.
  • Conducting research on the determinants of communicable disease and on novel approaches to prevention and control, including cost-benefit studies and providing relevant training and capacity building for Caribbean Member States
  • Preparing and disseminating information in response to outbreaks as well as information on the prevention of communicable diseases.
  • Working with national and regional institutions and organizations to coordinate the health response to epidemics and activities on prevention, including immunization.
  • Providing specialized diagnostic and reference laboratory services and works towards strengthening the capacity of national laboratories in CMS.
  • Providing support on the World Health Organization immunization, food, water and vector borne disease programme and other programmes.
  • Assists Caribbean member States to work towards meeting the requirements of the International Health Regulations (2005).

Other Areas of Work

  • Collaborations with Regional and international partners to develop a roadmap for Regional Health Security Agenda (GHSA), for the Caribbean region, that seeks to develop the capacities necessary to prevent, detect, report, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Outbreak simulations: CARPHA will work with Member States to conduct outbreak simulation exercises in 2020. More simulations and countries will be added in the coming years.
  • Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (link to program): CARPHA is working to build capacity to prevent, detect, and control outbreaks in our member states. Participants in the CR-FELTP develop their skills and acquire new tools to strengthen national surveillance systems and respond to public health incidents. Graduates may be called upon to use these skills in health emergencies or disaster situations at a national level and in the future at the regional level as part of a Caribbean Rapid Response Deployment Team.
Current Response

CARPHA is monitoring threats in the region and will respond when called upon by any Member State, CDEMA, or PAHO/WHO.