PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — The need to enhance national capacities to deliver public health goods and services to address new and emerging public health priorities in the Caribbean is paramount. On-going teaching, training, and collaboration are key ways in which the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has been supporting the CARPHA Member States in strengthening their capacities.
CARPHA, on April 27, 2020, signed an agreement for strategic collaboration with The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) aimed at promoting mutual cooperation in health education and research to better serve the Caribbean.
The agreement was signed by Dr Joy St John, executive director of CARPHA, and professor Prakash Persad, acting president, at UTT.
This collaboration will facilitate training and development opportunities, with a strategic focus on strengthening the health sector systems. It shall also seek to identify and prioritise capacity building for both parties as they fulfil their mandate but equally will support the delivery and quality of the University’s Master’s degree(s) in health administration and public health.
The partnership presents an opportunity to support the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (CR-FELTP) facilitated by CARPHA. The CR-FELTP, designed for health professionals, provides a core curriculum of competency-based classroom and online learning along with on-the-job training, to develop field epidemiology skills and tools to respond to public health issues in the Caribbean through surveillance, outbreak investigation, and operational research and analysis.
Professor Persad noted that signing amidst the current COVID-19 global health crisis is an opportune time as it strengthens the University’s human resource and academic capacity to deliver long-term, viable solutions to some of the challenges facing the health sector both locally and regionally. It also increases the ability of UTT to use effective virtual modalities.
Through a collaborative effort, both UTT and CARPHA will leverage their respective organisational strengths to enable training and research for health systems strengthening.
Dr St John stated: “This memorandum is an important step in the demonstration of our deep commitment to building capacity in our 26 Member States. This collaboration, which is aligned with CARPHA’s strategic priorities, will support the strengthening of the agency’s training expertise and delivery of programmes to Member States.”
Both parties agree that the partnership is an excellent approach to knowledge sharing and capacity building in key areas as it strengthens the health sector, with the overarching intent to safeguard the health and well-being of the region.