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Caribbean News

CARPHA Convenes Landmark High Level Meetings to discuss Regional Health Security and Solidarity

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Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  20 July 2022.   “The impact of and challenges posed by COVID-19 and its variants made CARPHA realise how much ground we had to cover for this particular ever growing COVID-19 family – with the highly infectious BE.1 and BF.1 being the latest sub variants of Omicron that we have just sequenced in the Region. The lessons we have learnt from this massive fight against COVID-19 have stood us in good stead for the new disease monkeypox that has followed all too quickly to the Caribbean shores.” These were the words of Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as she spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the Stakeholder Consultations on Regional Health Security hosted by the Agency.

The high level meetings held over three days from 19 – 21 July 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, brought together laboratory directors, national epidemiologists and environmental officers from CARPHA Member States, Chief Medical Officers, CARICOM and other regional entities, as well as international development partners and public health agencies.

Dr. St. John further stated “The time is right for this meeting of key stakeholders to discuss regional Health Security, face the problems of the deficiencies and faults and plan collectively for the most effective ways and efficient road map to fix the ring fence that the CARICOM Caribbean needs to deal with whatever is around the corner.

Dr. Lisa Indar, CARPHA’s Director of Surveillance, Disease emphasised that as economies reopen, CARPHA is refocusing on strengthening capacities and sustainable mechanisms to promote resilience and economic recovery, to better prepare for and respond to public health issues that transcend boundaries and potentially impact on economic and political stability, trade, tourism, and access to goods and services in the Region.

Dr. Carla N. Barnett, Secretary-General of CARICOM, giving remarks at the ceremony said “We as a Region must consider Regional Health Security as we move to revitalize our economies, we have to continue to learn how to secure our health, education and social sectors while living with COVID19. This pandemic has taught us that we must ensure that our health systems are resilient to assure our health security.

Dr. Richard Garfield, Acting Team Lead for Global Health Security Agenda and International Health Regulations of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, praised CARPHA and the Caribbean region for the very good job in being able to maximise the use of limited resources better than other regions for COVID-19 response.  “The strategies and plans that you have in the past have stood out as being more practical than those of many other regions in the world.”

The Honourable Terrance Deyalsingh, Minister of Health Trinidad and Tobago acknowledged CARPHA’s stellar leadership in public health, and providing evidence based information especially through COVID-19 response.  The Minister also called for taking solidarity to the next level of global solidarity, and for equity in resources and response, stating “new diseases like COVID-19 are emerging at unprecedented rates, disrupting people’s health and causing social and economic impact. Access to healthcare, preventative medicines, and vaccination programmes are crucial elements in regional health security.  The Region has used its limited resources to get the biggest bang for its buck, as opposed to countries with far more resources than ourselves.  The COVID-19 pandemic has raised global awareness of the importance of health security, and the systems and capacity needed to prevent, and detect global health threats.”

The 3-day Stakeholder Consultations on Regional Health Security is funded by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada.

More information about the Stakeholder Consultations on Regional Health Security can be accessed here.

 

Release: CARPHA

Photo Caption: Opening Ceremony of the CARPHA Stakeholders Consultation on Regional Health Security, 19 July 2022, Hyatt Regency, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago.

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package

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#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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