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CARPHA Progresses to Eligibility for the First Disbursement of Pandemic Funding

CARPHA Progresses to Eligibility for the First Disbursement of Pandemic Funding

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 22 March, 2024.  Following a landmark Public Signing Ceremony for the Pandemic Fund (PF) Technical Cooperation Agreement (“Reducing the Public Health Impact of Pandemics in the Caribbean through Prevention, Preparedness, and Response” [RG-T4387] Project) on December 14, 2023, in Trinidad, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) continues to progress towards the start of implementation.

CARPHA fulfilled the IDB’s nine conditions prior to first disbursement, achieving full eligibility on March 15, 2024, and is now eligible for the first disbursement. This milestone achievement in just 3 months after the signing speaks to the commitment of both CARPHA, the Executing Agency, and IDB, the Implementing Entity, toward the regional PF project with the objective of supporting the reduction of the public health impact of pandemics in the Caribbean by building pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) surveillance & early-warning systems (EWS), laboratory systems and workforce capacity, regionally at CARPHA and in countries.

Since the signing of the Technical Cooperation Agreement and as part of the conditions prior to first disbursement, CARPHA has achieved the following key outputs (i) the development of the PF Project Operations Manual, Multi-annual Execution Plan, Procurement Plan, Financial Plan, Procedure for CARPHA’s Financial Reporting System; (ii) vacancy announcements for two tranches of consultants with the subsequent hiring of five (Technical Coordinator, Financial Specialist, Procurement Specialist, Operations Officer and Project Operations Coordinator) and (iii) the establishment of the Project Execution Unit (PEU) and Project Execution Steering Committee (PESC). The dedicated PEU will be responsible for execution according to its planned timelines, which will be led by the Dr. Lisa Indar, the Project Director (CARPHA’s Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division).

CARPHA, as the lead regional public health agency and an expression of Caribbean Cooperation in Health is mandated by its Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to support its 26 CARPHA Member States (CMS) in bolstering national systems and coordinating regional response to public health threats. The Agency works closely with regional and international agencies and uses regional mechanisms, surveillance systems, and networks for coordinating its public health response work.

In July 2023, the PF Governing Board announced that CARPHA’s regional entity proposal, entitled ‘Reducing the Public Health Impact of Pandemics in the Caribbean through Strengthened Integrated Early Warning Surveillance, Laboratory Systems and Workforce Development’ was successfully selected for the first round of financing. It was one of only 19 proposals selected from over 300 submissions and the only regional project. The three priority areas in the proposal are: (i) Comprehensive disease surveillance and EWS, (ii) Laboratory systems and (iii) Human resources and public health and community workforce capacity.

This project is expected to begin implementation in March 2024, starting off with a blended onboarding session. A Stakeholder Meeting with countries is tentatively planned for July 2024.

CARPHA remains dedicated to working together with the IDB, CARPHA Member States and the Pandemic Fund to successfully implement the regional proposal geared toward reducing the public health impact of pandemics in the Caribbean.