The Role and Functions of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

Laboratories
Training and Capacity Building
Consultancies
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Research Grants Programme

CARPHA’s specialised laboratories provide support for the surveillance, prevention, promotion and control of important public health problems in the Region.

Laboratory services offered are:

  • Support for surveillance and control of communicable diseases (bacteriology, virology, parasitology, entomology, molecular biology, immunoserology, mycology, antibiotic resistance, insecticide susceptibility and resistance, and some clinical chemistry)
  • Identification of vectors responsible for disease transmission
  • Micronutrient tests of foods
  • Environmental testing in laboratory that is accredited to ISO 17025 by the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation for specific tests
    • Water quality testing – potable, recreational, wastewater, bottled water, coastal water
    • Heavy metal and pesticide residues (soil, water, plant/animal tissue, food products)
    • Indoor air quality
  • Quality assessment of pharmaceutical products:
    • Microbiological analysis
    • Comparative dissolution tests
    • Chemical and physicochemical analysis
    • Instrumental analysis

CARPHA engages in ongoing skills-building, collaboration and professional supervision that enhance national capacities to deliver public health goods and services. The Agency conducts national and regional workshops, as well as in-country training for Ministry and state agency facilities. Additionally, one-on-one training is provided through attachments, associate and internship programmes. This includes:

  • Training in epidemiology, lab technology, nutrition, environmental health and management and related public health disciplines and their application to surveillance, epidemic investigation and control, health situation analysis and trend assessment
  • Training in grant writing, research methods, ethics, monitoring and evaluation, data analysis and management
  • Support for curriculum development and evaluation of curricula within training institutions conducting training in epidemiology, lab technology, nutrition, environmental health and related public health disciplines
  • Monitoring, evaluation and conduct of needs assessments of national vector control programmes to increase effectiveness

CARPHA’s multi-disciplinary team of professionals is committed and dedicated to assisting its stakeholders to promote public health and control related problems. Consultancies are conducted in the areas of:

  • Environmental and social impact assessments; risk assessments and noise evaluations
  • Surveillance of:
    • Communicable and non-communicable diseases, development of  the Caribbean Surveillance system and strengthening of national surveillance systems (including nutritional surveillance)
    • Outbreaks of HIV/AIDS, vaccine-preventable diseases, water quality and environmental health problems, food and vector bourne diseases
    • Behaviour that contributes to NCDs – drug, tobacco, obesity, food and nutrition, mental illness and injuries and violence
    • Studies to advise, advocate and inform policy decisions e.g. food and nutrition issues, poverty/vulnerability analysis and disease mapping
    • Assistance to countries in introducing and implementing health information systems to facilitate alert/early warning signals and public health information sharing.
    • Provision of technical support for facilitating and promoting the development and strengthening of research systems in member states

CARPHA coordinates responses to public health crisis in the Caribbean by:

  • Providing staff for prompt help and advice on disease prevention and control strategies in outbreak and epidemic situations
  • Coordinating health input for emergency situations in countries after natural disasters e.g. post flood provision of medical staff and supplies, environmental health issues – training, water quality monitoring and management etc.
  • Providing laboratory support to outbreak investigations to confirm aetiology and monitor trends
  • Providing support for specific planning for food security esp. important given food price crisis, climate change and move towards biological fuels.

Purpose

The CARPHA Research Grants Programme is one of its mechanisms to build health research capacity in the Caribbean.  It is a facility whereby junior/budding researchers are given funding to assist in the conduct of small studies.  Often, these studies are expanded on the basis of the initial findings into larger projects for which support may be sought from funding agencies with larger budgets.  Projects proposals are expected to address areas identified as Regional priority as defined by the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH).  The priority program areas for CCH III are:

  • Chronic Diseases
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Family & Community Health
  • Mental Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Strengthening Health Systems
  • Human Resource Development

Eligibility

Any worker in the Caribbean who proposes to study a problem, which is related to the health of the Caribbean people, is eligible to apply for a research grant.  However, priority is given to young/budding researchers or established researchers who are mentoring a junior.

Format and Timing of Applications

Applications must be made on the requisite forms (available on this website).  They are reviewed at meetings of the Scientific and Management Committee of the CARPHA, held in January, April and October of each year.  Deadline for submissions of proposals to be reviewed at these meetings are:

  • November 1st
  • March 1st
  • September 1st

Use of Funds

Grants are not intended to replace existing resources or necessarily to meet the entire cost of research projects.

Note that the CARPHA will NOT provide:

  • Administrative costs
  • The cost of unspecified research
  • Standard laboratory apparatus
  • Long-term technical support

Equipment

Large items of equipment bought with CARPHA funds remain the property of the Council.  The Council, at the termination of a project, may request that such equipment be returned, for use by other researchers.  However, if grantees wish to use the equipment for other studies, they may apply to the Council for permission to do so.

Reports

One of the conditions of the awards is that annual reports must be presented.  Depending on the length of the grant, progress reports should be submitted every six (6) months.  The final report should comprise the following:

  • Abstract (1 page)
  • Executive Summary (3 pages)
  • Full Research Report (no more than 25 pages)
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • References
    • Tables/Figures
    • Implications for Practice (specify target audience)
    • Implications for Policy (specify target audience)
    • Directions for Future Research

The Executive Summary/Abstract of research studies funded by the CARPHA will be posted on its website.

Publications

All publications arising from research conducted using funds from the CARPHA should acknowledge that support.

Value of Awards

The CARPHA will not normally make grants in excess of US$10,000.

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