Member States of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will benefit from a Grant from the European Union (EU) valued at about 8 million euro (US$8.6M) to help in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak and to strengthen health security in the Region. The Grant which is being made available through an Agreement between CARPHA and the EU, will increase the capacity of CARPHA and CARPHA Member States to respond to outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus, and strengthen public education programmes on communicable diseases.
CARPHA is leading the regional health response to COVID-19, in keeping with its Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) mandate from CARICOM and recommendations from the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD)-Health Working Group on Regional Coordination for Response Management.
The funds will assist with the purchase of test kits, masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), testing reagents, and other materials required for coronavirus testing. It will also help increase the capacity of regional countries to carry out laboratory testing for COVID-19, support epidemiology training, coronavirus quarantine and isolation procedures, as well as contact tracing. In addition, it will finance treatment and vaccines for COVID-19, when they become available.
The EU assistance will allow CARPHA to hire three additional laboratory technologists to deal with the anticipated surge in demand for testing for the COVID-19 virus and also support the maintenance of new and existing laboratory equipment. The promotion of the use of CARPHA’s COVID-19 guidelines and protocols among health professionals will be supported under the Grant.
Additionally, the Grant will seek to strengthen regional coordination, including surveillance at ports of entry and rapid response teams; and the institutional capacity of CARPHA in preparing for, and responding to public health emergencies.