CARPHA receives support to address infectious disease surveillance in the Caribbean

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, May 17, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is receiving funding assistance from the Republic of Korea to strengthen laboratory systems and networks in the Caribbean Community (Caricom).

CARPHA said that the US$656,743 grant will also assist in strengthening human resources capacities in health sectors to accurately detect, characterise and treat infectious diseases.

Financing for the project “Strengthening Health Systems in Caricom to Address Infectious Diseases” is provided by the Republic of Korea through the Republic of Korea-Caricom (ROK-CARICOM) Cooperation Fund.

The project also enables the procurement of a KingFisher Flex Purification System and the required reagents and is regarded as a primary step in the PCR process and will contribute to the continued pandemic response for coronavirus (COVID-19) detection, as well as ongoing surveillance for diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses, and routine respiratory surveillance of influenza and non-influenza viruses.

“The Republic of Korea has been very responsive to the needs in our region, providing over US$1.5 million worth of resources for Health Systems Strengthening to address Infectious Diseases and support for our regional COVID 19 pandemic response. This tangible demonstration of solidarity in health at a time of need was much appreciated,” said Dr Douglas Slater, Caricom Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development.

“History will show that Korea was one of the first larger economies to reach out to us in our time of need, an action we cannot and will not forget.”

Korea’s ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Dongil Oh, underscored CARPHA’s role in converging the various health ministries and capacity-building for medical staff across Caricom.

“I am firmly convinced that this project will serve as a critical stepping stone for Caricom member states to bring infectious diseases under control.”

Host Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, said the launch of a project of this kind underlines the need to establish robust and resilient healthcare systems in the Caricom region.

“This partnership with the Republic of Korea will help us strengthen not only a national response in Trinidad and Tobago but also a Caricom response. Strong healthcare systems bolster, not only the supply and delivery of quality healthcare to Caricom residents and citizens, but can curb the potential detrimental and irrevocable effects of current and future pandemics,” he added.

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