The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has signed an agreement with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to work together in preventing disease as well as promoting and protecting public health across the Caribbean.
More than one-third of the visitors to the Caribbean are from the United Kingdom. The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Montserrat are also CARPHA member states.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two organisations includes commitments to define strategies for combating infectious disease threats, non-communicable diseases and strengthening outbreak response in Caribbean countries.
The agreement also seeks to build laboratory and workforce capacity, and improve healthy, safe tourism, given that UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean are dependent on tourism.
There is also a specific emphasis on genomic surveillance of high-priority pathogens – which emerged as a new service during the COVID
-19 pandemic. Both organisations will also be building more capacity to deal with antimicrobial resistance and lessons learned will be shared across field epidemiology and laboratory training programmes at CARPHA and UKHSA.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA, said: “I welcome this agreement with UKHSA because CARPHA is committed to maintaining our relationship for the long-term, in order to address a range of public health issues towards improving health and saving lives.”