The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is the new single regional public health agency for the Caribbean. It was legally established in July 2011 by an Inter-Governmental Agreement signed by Caribbean Community Member States and began operation in January 2013. The Agency rationalises public health arrangements in the Region by combining the functions of five Caribbean Regional Health Institutes (RHIs) into a single agency. They are:
1. The Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI)
2. The Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC)
3. The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI)
4. The Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC)
5. The Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL)
CARPHA brings these RHIs together as one strong force under a public health umbrella under which issues requiring a regional response can be addressed. These include:
1. Emergency responses to disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding),
2. The surveillance and management of non communicable diseases (NDCs) that have reached epidemic proportions such as obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
3. The surveillance and management of communicable diseases (CDs), including HIV / AIDS; re-emerging diseases, like tuberculosis in association with HIV/AIDS; and new communicable diseases that are now endemic in the region
4. The surveillance and prevention of injuries, violence and job related illnesses.
5. Contribution to global health agreements and compliance with international health regulations
The Agency is the Caribbean Region’s collective response to strengthening and reorienting our health system approach so that we are equipped to address the changing nature of public health challenges. The approach is people-centred and evidence-based.