About Emergency Response


In recent years the Caribbean Region has seen an increase in the number and severity of emergencies, natural disasters and threats to the public health. Devastating hurricanes and earthquakes have impacted many islands in the region in recent years. Political unrest inside and outside the region has resulted in an influx of people seeking safety away from their homes. Lately there has been a sharp increase in the spread of infectious diseases like ZIKA, Chikungunya, and Dengue. Additionally, as the world shrinks and travel increases, the threat of spreading infectious diseases like SARS, EBOLA, MERS-CoV and others increases. CARPHA is poised to respond anywhere in the Region to those in need.

From the creation of CARPHA, its mandate included leading effective responses to public health crises in the Caribbean. That is accomplished through close collaboration with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and PAHO/WHO to build regional capacity as well as capacity of individual Member States in preparedness, monitoring of potential threats, and responding to any emergency or disaster when the need arises. The region must be ready for any threat to public health: infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, mass gathering events, droughts, contaminated water and food sources, and chemical or radiological incidents.

Why it matters?

The public health consequences of these events can be far reaching. Public health systems play an integral role in helping countries prepare for and recover from disasters and emergencies. During the onset and early stages of a disaster, impacted communities and countries rely on local resources and then on external support. Therefore, CARPHA wants to help member states prepare for local, national and regional emergency responses. When the region and its countries, are well prepared, lives are saved, injuries are reduced, and people can return to their lives more quickly. CARPHA will continue to play an important role in preparing for and responding to these significant public health events.

Key Activities

  • Roadmap for Regional Health Security Agenda (GHSA): The 5 Year Roadmap was developed to support the Caribbean region to develop the capacities necessary to prevent, detect, report, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. The roadmap documents and guide regional health security activities by identifying milestones for future work and areas where additional support is needed to achieve the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) targets and to develop essential public health functions to support the continuous public health preparedness process.
  • Country Assessments for Disaster Preparedness: CARPHA will continue to assess CMS capacities and their current state of readiness to respond to emergencies. CARPHA will build capacity in each CMS as it works to cover any gaps.
  • Multi Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS): CARPHA is the lead agency for health to provide advice and assistance to CDEMA to respond to health needs when disasters strike. CARPHA has expertise to help with identification of potential health threats and responds to requests for assistance by CDEMA.
  • 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.