The International Federation of Biosafety Associations has announced that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is an official Observer organization of the IFBA. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is a regional organization which represents the public health interests of twenty-six (26) Member States including the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean islands as well as Haiti, Belize in Central America, Guyana and Suriname in South America. The Agency has headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago with satellite campuses in St. Lucia which focuses on Environmental Health and Sustainable Development, and Jamaica which is responsible for Medicine Quality Control and Surveillance. Its mission is to build Member States' capacity to prevent disease and promote health and wellness through leadership, partnership and innovation in public health.
CARPHA’s key objectives include providing strategic direction for public health priorities; developing and promoting measures for disease prevention; and supporting the Caribbean Community strategy for responding to public health emergencies and threats. The CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago provides surveillance, reference and diagnostic test services for infectious agents as the recognized regional reference laboratory.
The Agency is the chair of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism on Health Security (RCM-HS) under which Biosafety and Biosecurity is recognized as an essential pillar for strengthening national health systems to detect and respond to known, emerging and re-emerging threats. The strategic areas of focus for the Biosafety and Biosecurity Programme at CARPHA are to 1. Promote the advancement of national plans to improve laboratory practices through an all-of-government approach for pathogen biosafety and biosecurity; 2. Expand the numbers of trained local, national and regional laboratory professionals through face-to-face and e-learning courses designed to improve biosafety and biosecurity practices in accordance with applicable standards; and 3. Support laboratory networks at the national, regional and international levels to share best practices and leverage existing resources. To date more than 500 laboratory professionals have been trained in Biosafety and Biosecurity Practices for the Laboratory and Infectious Substances Shipping across the Caribbean.
At the international level, CARPHA contributes as a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Chatham House’s Sustainable Laboratories Initiative and the Global Health Security Agenda Action Package Prevent 3 – Biosafety and Biosecurity Working Group.
The announcement can be found on the International Federation of Biosafety Associations website HERE.