New regional public health agency started operations January 1


Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever says he welcomes the news of the new regional health organization, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) starting with its formal operations on January 1.

CARPHA has been created by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) and international partners including Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.


CARPHA’s work will be aligned with the principles of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH III) initiative, which seeks to improve the health of the people of the Caribbean and reduce the risks of disease, injury, and disability.

Minister De Weever says that the principles of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health are also in line with his ‘Get Checked’ campaign to improve the welfare and health of the people of Sint Maarten, and that the Ministry of Public Health will be making use of CARPHA’s capacities for the country.

At CARPHA’s Board of Directors meeting in Trinidad last week, the appointment of Dr. James Hospedales was announced as the agency’s new Executive Director. Hospedales is a former director of CAREC and currently senior advisor on prevention and control of chronic diseases at PAHO/WHO.

Last September Minister De Weever met with several CARICOM Ministers of Public Health who attended a PAHO meeting regarding CARPHA. "I understand their objective, because the Caribbean as a region has and may have unique health priorities. It is important that they have a united voice when addressing international health initiatives," Minister of Cornelius de Weever stated last September.

CARPHA will facilitate public health research to address common health problems in the region, including the rising epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases, violence and injuries, and emerging and re-emerging diseases such as tuberculosis-HIV co-infection.

CARPHA comprises of the merging of operations of five regional health institutions: the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), the Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC), the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), and the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL).

CARPHA was legally established on 2 July 2011 through an inter-governmental agreement signed by CARICOM Member States.

CARPHA is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and will be located initially at the current CAREC site, but is expected to move to new premises in Coura, St. Augustine, Trinidad, by the beginning of 2015.