CARPHA’s mission is to provide strategic direction, in analysing, defining and responding to public health priorities of Member States in an effort to prevent disease, promote health and respond to public health emergencies. Regional outbreaks over the past decade such as Influenza A H1N1pdm01; Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of which was largely influenced by international travel and trade..
Over the past few years, there has been an increased interest in strengthening health systems within the Caribbean region, as most fall short of the requirements for implementing the goals of the International Health Regulations (IHR). Within the Region, a mean score of 54%, up from 50% in 2014, was reported for human resource capacity in the CARICOM States Parties Annual Reports to the 71st World Health Assembly, 2018. Of the 15 mentioned CARPHA Member States (CMS), 7 reported less than 50% for human resource capacity, 2 are at 50-79% capacity and 5 are at 80% and above. While there has been some progress, the Region still suffers from a low availability of critical skills and competencies in applied public health, and consequently, has limited capabilities to effectively respond to public health emergencies including outbreaks.
The CR-FELTP is a widely recognized professional development programme for public health professionals, that is based on service and on-the-job learning in applied epidemiology in the Caribbean. The CR-FELTP provides training in field epidemiology and laboratory practice at a Basic (Level I) and Intermediate level (Level II). To date, 14 CMS have engaged to varying degrees in implementing and rolling out the CR-FELTP. Training is offered on a tiered basis consisting of Frontline, Basic/Level I and Intermediate /Level II tiers, with technical complexity and expected competency outcomes increasing with each level.