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

  • Laboratories
  • Training and Capacity Building
  • Consultancies
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response

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 medicines:
    • 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.