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CARPHA launches unique Health Assurance Stamp and Mobile App to help tourism industry

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#PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – October 23, 2020 – As part of its ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other public health threats, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is preparing to officially launch two important initiatives to protect the Region’s tourism sector and safeguard the health and safety of residents and visitors.  

Joy St. John, Executive Director – CARPHA

Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA’s Executive Director, explained that the new tools, which will debut on November 5, 2020, are part and parcel of CARPHA’s Traveler’s Health Program (THP), which provides an early monitoring and response system to public health issues that impact tourism.  The THP, set up several years ago by CARPHA, is a key outcome of a unique partnership established six years ago to bridge collaboration between health and tourism authorities aimed at safeguarding the health of travelers and employees in the hospitality industry. The Caribbean Travelers Health Assurance stamp for Healthier Safer Tourism (HST) is a measurable and verifiable recognition award for tourism entities and destinations that are implementing the recommended proactive COVID-19 health monitoring and safety measures.

“Caribbean travelers now have the added assurance of a healthier, safer option for accommodations (hotels, guesthouses) and services (transport, tour operators) awarded the HST stamp,” said Dr. St. John, who noted the stamp has been officially approved by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the region’s preeminent tourism bodies.

The public health expert explained that hospitality facilities awarded the HST stamp will be listed as preferred options on the Caribbean Traveler’s Health Mobile App. Awardees will also later be listed on the websites of CARPHA and CHTA, with links to regional and international health and tourism stakeholders.  

The Caribbean Traveler’s Health Mobile App is a unique, multifaceted, health information repository, designed for travelers and health and tourism stakeholders. It provides travel health information by each Caribbean destination (inclusive of vaccination requirements, health care facilities, accommodations listings), health alerts of current public health issues, COVID-19 proactive/prevention measures, and travel requirements by country (testing, health screening, pre-approval, and tracking).

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It links directly to CARPHA’s COVID-19 situation reports, guidelines, and the THP. The app also identifies accommodations and other hospitality facilities within a destination that have been awarded the Caribbean Travelers Health Assurance stamp.  Dr. Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance and Head of the THP, explained that the app will be expanded next year to include cruise ships that have been awarded the stamp.

“CARPHA is uniquely resourced and positioned to provide reliable travelers health information of this detail and magnitude,” she added, explaining that the app has been designed for both iOS and Android platforms. In addition to the stamp and the app, CARPHA’s Proactive COVID-19 Health Measures for Tourism are aimed at building travelers’ assurance, tourism resilience, and regional health security.

The measures include utilizing the Tourism and Health Information System (THiS), a web-based, early warning and response information system to capture illnesses in real time and thereby reduce spread and reputational damage; certified training in COVID-19 health measures for the hospitality sector (including testing, masks, social distancing, handwashing hygiene, sanitization, and response from visitor arrival to departure); guidelines and checklists; hospitality health, safety and environmental sanitation (HSE) operational standards. CARPHA is a global pioneer in tourism-health partnerships, having worked with tourism stakeholders in the Caribbean over the past six years on health safety, education and training matters. 

Earlier this year in March, CARPHA partnered with CTO, CHTA, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECS) to form the COVID-19 Tourism Task Force to launch Caribbean health, safety and sanitation guidelines and training for thousands of the Region’s tourism employees.

CARPHA PRESS RELEASE

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Bahamas News

Government, fulfilling commitment to provide housing for Bahamians

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

 

#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has underscored the government’s commitment to “strengthening” and “deepening” its “unmatched” legacy of providing access to decent, affordable housing to Bahamians.

“My government is acutely aware of the current housing shortage in The Bahamas and the backlog of housing applications at the Mortgage Corporation of The Bahamas (BMC),” said Prime Minister Davis.

“Our BMC Executive Chair, Barbara Cartwright, is committed to expediting those applications and assigning without delay, suitably qualified housing applicants.

“I believe the number of applications at BMC in just the last eight months is in excess of 3,500. This housing demand suggests that we move with urgency and dispatch.”

In this vein, the government, Monday, along with stakeholders, unveiled The Renaissance at Carmichael, a housing sub-division on 70 acres of crown land off Carmichael Road in Western New Providence.

Executives of the government and public-private partnerships (PPP) participated in a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, May 16, 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister, which will allow Bahamian families the ability to open the doors to 200 new homes.

The subdivision is being funded by a PPP arrangement between the Government, a $20 million backing from PROVEN Wealth Ltd. through Simplified Lending, the Mortgage Corporation of the Bahamas and financiers.

Dignitaries in attendance: the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; Leroy Major, Executive Chairman, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet; David Davis and Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretaries; Barbara Cartwright, Chairman, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation; Oral Lafleur, Acting Chief Housing Officer; and Thomas Ferguson, Acting Director of Housing. Representatives of private sector partners: Robert Pantry, Founder and CEO, Simplified Lending; Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Limited.

Prime Minister Davis assured that as the economy fully opens and grows, the government expects to expand PPPs in other areas of national economy including public infrastructure providing investments, ownership and job opportunities for Bahamians.

Minister Coleby-Davis said the initiative will set a new standard in affordable housing by which other housing developments will be measured.

She described today’s signing is an “historic” milestone which can be attributed to the commitment of the government to bring to fruition a concept from an idea to reality.

“With this project we intend to create an estate where a sense of community thrives. There will be lit streets, sidewalks; a park where children can play safely and family gatherings can take place. Neighbors will be able to come together and interact as our families were able to do many years ago.

Formerly known as Carmichael Village Sub-division, the community will comprise 104 single family, two and three-bedroom residences, and eight two-storey condominium buildings with 12 units each.

In a video presentation Minister Coleby-Davis said, “Thanks to Simplified Lending, a Bahamian company which secured funding through a leading regional finance company called PROVEN. Many who only dreamed of home ownership will be able to walk through the front door to their new lives in less than one year.”

She informed that homes will be built to the highest quality with steel frame construction, storm-rated windows and doors, attractive facades and strong concrete foundations raised three feet above road level.

“Thanks to careful design, planning and exemptions on certain building supplies, every home will remain in the affordable price range opening doors to home ownership starting at $130,000,” she said.

Mr. Heaven said, “This transaction today will be primarily funded through the Bahamian portion of our Heritage education fund which is a regional education savings plan that is over 30 years old and is a household name for saving for your children’s tertiary education.”

The government broke ground for Pinecrest Sub-Division, a 43-lot community in Southern New Providence in January of this year.

 

Release: BIS

BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna

Header: From left: Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretary; the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet and the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

1st insert: The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is pictured speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for The Renaissance at Carmichael, a new sub-division in western New Providence.

2nd insert: The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing and Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Ltd., after ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

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Bahamas News

The Bahamas joins the international community in celebrating Women in Maritime

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#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – Recognition of the potential for women to play a vital role in maritime has never been greater and this year the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is launching an annual day to Recognise Women in Maritime.  This day will be the  18th May every year and in 2022, an International Symposium is being organised by the IMO as a celebration of this landmark event.

The Bahamas has been at the vanguard of embracing women in maritime – two of The BMA Board’s past three chairpersons have been Bahamian women of influence.  We are proud to again have a female Minister of Transport & Housing through Minister Jobeth Coleby-Davis who is an advocate of female empowerment and continues to encourages more women to join shipping so as to create a level playing field and inspire the next generation of professionals within the broad maritime sphere.

This diversity of approach extends to the BMA’s workforce, which boasts a strong gender balance of 51% females to 49% males. Their insights, expertise and dedication have given The Bahamas the solid foundation to build a globally renowned, quality ship registry with a strong international presence.

A measure of shipping’s growing appeal among women is the BMA’ s sponsored Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC)

(www.bahamasmaritimecadetcorps.com) where participation by female cadets generally exceeds 50% and occasionally reaches as high as 60% of the total cadet intake. These cadets capability and potential is unquestionable as demonstrated in the Class of 2020 when 4 out of the 6 Top Cadet award recipients nationally (65%) were female cadets. Upon completion of the cadet programme, these female cadets continue to excel and  lead the way as seafarers attaining the international recognised professional qualification as Officer of the Watch which enables them to sail on ships of any type or size.             We wish to encourage Bahamian female students, who are reviewing their career options, to consider joining the programme as we strike up even more collaboration and partnership with shipowners to broaden employment in this dynamic and critical industry.

Encouraging more women to join shipping is essential to a balanced industry where everyone, male or female, has the same opportunity to progress. As more women enter the industry and showcase their competence and professionalism, this should result in these professionals being appointed to more managerial and executive appointments within every aspect of the sector.

Jacqueline M Simmons Chairman of The BMA Board of Director said: “The raising of national maritime awareness of shipping and its critical importance to the Bahamas’ economic development remains a core strategic objective of the BMA. We are committed to promoting UN sustainability goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls hope to continue to  encourage even more women and Bahamians at large to consider a maritime career and contribute to the national maritime capacity building.”

Captain Dwain Hutchinson BMA’s Managing Director & CEO and Clayton Curtis BMCCC Maritime Coordinator joined the Chairman Simmons in extending thanks and appreciation to all those shipowners and industry groups such as The Bahamas Shipowners Association, who offer their commitment to supporting the training of,  and identifying potential employment opportunities to, young Bahamians.

Women have long played a major role in building one of the world’s leading maritime industries here in The Bahamas. As the nation and the world adjusts and learns to manage in the “post COVID-19” climate, we need to build on our experiences and play our part to give talented females more opportunities to steer shipping towards a bright, environmental sustainable and prosperous future.

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Caribbean News

CARPHA Receives Support to Further Strengthen its Capacity to Address Infectious Diseases Surveillance and Response in Member States

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#Trinidad&Tobago, May 17, 2022 – CARICOM Member States are poised to benefit from a fund to strengthen laboratory systems and networks, and human resources capacities in health sectors to accurately detect, characterize and treat infectious diseases.

Financing for the project “Strengthening Health Systems in CARICOM to Address Infectious Diseases” is provided by the Republic of Korea through the Republic of Korea-CARICOM (ROK-CARICOM) Cooperation Fund, through the CARICOM Secretariat. Under this grant valued at US$656,743, CARPHA will be able to execute a series of interventions to the benefit of its Member States.

The launch of the project took place on 13 May 2022, at the headquarters of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).  In attendance were the Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; His Excellency Dongil Oh Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; His Excellency Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General Human and Social Development, Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and Mr Jinwoo Jung, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Speaking at the ceremony Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control, brought remarks on behalf of Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director of CARPHA.  Dr. Lisa Indar expressed appreciation for the continued support of the Republic of Korea. She acknowledged the role played by the Korean Embassies in Venezuela, and in Trinidad and Tobago in accessing these resources under the Republic of Korea-CARICOM Cooperation Fund.  Dr. Indar highlighted the benefits of the project stating:  “The project will support Train the Trainer workshops in the Shipping of Infectious Substances conducted and certified by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), as well as supporting the enhancement of biosafety and biosecurity measures in our Member States and the conduct of training under the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (CR-FELTP).”

The project also enables the procurement of a KingFisher Flex Purification System and the required reagents, which will be housed at the CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory.  This equipment is a primary step in the PCR process and will contribute to the CMML’s continued pandemic response for COVID-19 detection, as well as ongoing surveillance for diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika viruses, and routine respiratory surveillance of influenza and non-influenza viruses.

In 2006 relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) were strengthened through the Agreement for the Establishment of a Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism between the Government of the CARICOM and the Republic of Korea.   Since then, there has been a steady growth in understanding and collaboration between CARICOM and the Republic of Korea.

“The Republic of Korea has been very responsive to the needs in our region, providing over 1.5 million US dollars’ worth of resources for Health Systems Strengthening to address Infectious Diseases and support for our regional COVID 19 pandemic response. This tangible demonstration of solidarity in health at a time of need was much appreciated,” stated Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, CARICOM, speaking on behalf of Dr. Carla Barnett, CARICOM Secretary General. He further stated “History will show that Korea was one of the first larger economies to reach out to us in our time of need, an action we cannot and will not forget.”

In his remarks, His Excellency Dongil Oh, Ambassador of The Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad underscored CARPHA’s role of converging the various Health Ministries and capacity-building for medical staff across CARICOM Member States, which has been central to responding and mitigating the health and socio-economic effects of COVID-19 in the Region. He added “I am firmly convinced that this project will serve as a critical stepping stone for CARICOM Member States to bring infectious diseases under control.”

Speaking at the ceremony Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago praised the work of CARPHA during the COVID-19 pandemic.  “The launch of a project of this kind underlines the need to establish robust and resilient healthcare systems in the CARICOM region. This partnership with the Republic of Korea will help us strengthen  not only a national response in Trinidad and Tobago, but also a CARICOM response”.  He added “Strong healthcare systems bolster, not only the supply and delivery of quality healthcare to CARICOM residents and citizens, but can curb the potential detrimental and irrevocable effects of current and future pandemics.”

Currently, CARPHA is executing another project funded by the Republic of Korea.  Through a Memorandum of Understanding with CARICOM, CARPHA is procuring personal protective equipment (PPEs) for nine (9) of its Member States valued at US$400,000 which is part of a larger support of US$1M provided to 15 Caribbean Countries.

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