The European Union has provided the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) with a grant of 4.1 million euro (US$4.5M) to continue supporting efforts to combat mosquito borne diseases in the Caribbean Region.
The assistance will be channelled through a four-year health strengthening programme designed to further improve the prevention, detection and control of outbreaks of mosquito borne diseases such as zika and dengue.
The project will involve activities to strengthen vector control programmes in CARPHA member states, in addition to the institutional capacity for detection, as well as regional coordination in response to possible related infectious outbreaks.
CARPHA is responsible for coordinating public health policy and responses to public health issues in CARICOM Member States and has recently completed a successful first phase of a similar EU-funded programme which focused on the Zika outbreak, at a cost of 700 000 euros (US$770,000).
EU Ambassador Daniela Tramacere said: "The EU remains committed to assisting the region with health security especially when mosquito borne diseases such as Zika and dengue threaten both the health of the regional population and general productivity, as well as the important tourism sector. This grant will ensure that CARPHA together with its member states can respond effectively to the potential threat that these diseases pose."
Executive Director of CARPHA Dr Joy St. John,said: "As the new Executive Director of CARPHA, I am pleased that we are implementing this very important initiative which will allow CARPHA to address many of the elements of capacity building that the Caribbean needs, such as laboratory strengthening, training in integrated vector management, insecticide resistance testing and behaviour change interventions. In light of current outbreaks of dengue, this is a boost to CARPHA’s support to countries at this time."