MIAMI, USA -- The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) joined with the Americas Health Foundation, Policy Wisdom and global legal practice Squire Sanders to host a meeting of Caribbean health ministers along with industry stakeholders to discuss short-term needs and long-term public health plans for the region.
The meeting served as a platform to raise awareness about the most significant healthcare needs in the region and explore options for collaborating on best solutions toward common goals. Key topics addressed at the meeting included communicable disease, environmental health and nutrition, among others.
"This meeting marks a step toward change in health and development in the region as it moves into a proactive role of regional and international integration of efforts to manage disaster, disease outbreak and effectively address longer term lifestyle challenges and the associated social and economic burdens of non-communicable diseases," said Jamaica health minister and chair of CARPHA's executive board Dr Fenton Ferguson.
"There is an underlying need for stakeholders in the health sector and the ministries of health to collaborate in support of activities that bring improvements to public health in the region," said Americas Health Foundation (AHF) president Richard Salvatierra, who presided over the meeting. "AHF allows for engagement among all stakeholders to take place smoothly, preserving the integrity of the parties involved in a neutral capacity."
Headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, CARPHA was recently formed to serve as a ten-nation regional healthcare agency and collectively promote development and further integration of the Caribbean community to achieve better public health outcomes in the region.
"CARPHA presents a new opportunity for integration in the Caribbean, a region that has already demonstrated integration is something the Caribbean does very well. CARPHA addresses an unmet need and its efforts should be endorsed by the public health community and supported and accompanied by all related sectors," stated Ana Rita Gonzalez, president of Policy Wisdom LLC.
"Squire Sanders is proud to host and facilitate this collaborative meeting. As a leading legal advisor on healthcare matters throughout the world, we are honored for this opportunity to help lead and shape the evolution of healthcare in the Caribbean to improve care and, ultimately, health outcomes in the region," said Scott Edelstein, partner with Squire Sanders' Healthcare Practice Group.
As the new single regional public health agency for the Caribbean, CARPHA will replace and build on the work of the Caribbean Community's five Regional Health Institutions: Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC) and the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL). The creation of the new agency was approved by the Caribbean heads of government in March 2010.
On behalf of a wide variety of industry sectors, representatives expressed interest in supporting the agency to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all citizens in the Caribbean.