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CARPHA helps TCI Strengthen Tourism and Health Program (THP); Beaches, Pine Cay and The Sands at Grace Bay earn Awards



November 1, 2023 – The recent COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that a healthy host community with strong safeguards is among the first to recover from a health disruption. It also highlighted the need for tourism-specific health policies and programs. The exponential spread of COVID-19 was a consequence of travel that had the most devastating effect on modern tourism.

On Tuesday 10 October 2023, a team from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)’s Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP), led by Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control Division, engaged with the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism and Health Steering Committee at the Ministry of Health and Human Services, Providenciales, in order to update and strengthen the TCIs Tourism and Health Program (THP).  Simultaneously, the CARPHA lead for their Environmental Health Laboratory, visited the National Public Health Laboratory’s site in Grand Turk for a walk through to assess the feasibility of upgrading the laboratory to perform Foodborne Disease (FBD) and Waterborne Disease (WBD) testing locally.

This follow-up mission focused on strengthening visitor-based surveillance, registration of additional tourism entities, strengthening FDB surveillance and reviewing laboratory capacity.

A targeted Infection Prevention Control (IPC) Methodologies training session was conducted by the CARPHA team at Beaches TCI, where over 100 Beaches staff participated resulting in Beaches being awarded the Caribbean Travelers’ Health Assurance Stamp for Healthier Safer Tourism (HST).

The HST award was launched in November 2020 and is a measurable and verifiable traveler’s health assurance and recognition award for tourism entities that are implementing the recommended proactive health monitoring and safety measures. The HST Stamp is endorsed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Awardees with the HST Stamp are eligible for the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp.

Pine Cay and The Sands at Grace Bay also received the HST award after meeting the criteria of consistently reporting into the THiS and having their staff trained in IPC methods.

The THP is one of CARPHA’s innovative programs that addresses health, food safety and environmental sanitation (HSE). Real-time, early warning and reaction surveillance systems, response, guidelines, capacity building, HSE standards, policy, advocacy, partnerships, and a travelers’ health award are solutions to the HSE threats affecting sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.  The goal is to enhance the health, safety and security of citizens and visitors while also contributing to the sustainability and resilience of Caribbean tourism and the economies of its states.

The TCI was the first Caribbean country to officially launch the THP on June 22nd, 2016, leading the way regionally for enhancing the health and safety of the tourism product. The TCI has recently been working with CARPHA to reinvigorate and strengthen its program following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the visit, Minister of Health and Human Services, Hon. Shaun Malcolm noted “It is important to adopt a multi-faceted cross-sector approach to provide real-time early warning and response, using the Tourism and Health Information System (THiS)”. He went on to say that “this multipronged approach stimulates a rapid and coordinated response to effectively manage and protect both the local population and the industry from any potential public health threats”.

The Minister of Tourism, Hon. Josephine Connolly expressed her excitement at the revitalization of the program, stating, “this real-time reporting system ensures the health and safety of visitors and front-line workers and by extension, our host community. We anticipate the further reengagement and enrollment of other accommodation and service providers. “

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Rihanna efforts for against climate change 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

#Barbados, December 5, 2023 – Global pop star and business owner Rihanna called on Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary and Ajay Banga, World Bank Chief, to join the fight against climate change for communities most affected.

The Barbadian singer and businesswoman took to her twitter in June this year to confront the need for action from Yellen and Banga.

She said, “Hey @SecYellen & #Ajay Banga, will you join @miaamormottley and step up for communities hit hardest by climate emergencies? We need you to make bold commitments to finance & debt reforms.”

She continued to point out her efforts to help address the climate crisis with her Clara Lionel Foundation

“I address climate with @ClaraLionelFdn, now it’s your turn.”

The singer also put in here appeal, the link to ‘action platform’ organisation Global Citizen, which is campaigning for global financial reform to address the interconnected crises of climate change, hunger and inequity.

Mia Amor Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, Rihanna’s home country, thanked Rihanna for her tweet, reports say, expressing that the Bridgetown Initiative is the “opportunity” that world leaders need to take.

Rihanna’s foundation, named after her grandparents, prioritizes climate resilience and climate Justice work and has donated millions in grants since being founded in 2012.

In fact, in 2019, after launching its Climate Resilience Initiative (CRI), to enhance emergency preparedness, it donated $1million in grants to The Bahamas, providing emergency food and medicine following Hurricane Dorian.

Also, last year, her foundation donated €13 million (USD$15 million) to the climate movement.

She said the donation to 18 climate justice organisations would contribute to seven Caribbean nations and the US, including the Climate Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Movement for Black Lives.

The grants, reports say, made in partnership with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s StartSmall philanthropic initiative, target groups with female, LGBT, Black and Indigenous leaders given that because their communities are most at risk.

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NIC Hailed as Key Contributor to Food Security



#Kingston, December 5, 2023 – Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Franklin Witter, is commending the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Limited for its invaluable contribution to agricultural productivity and food security in Jamaica.

Mr. Witter, who was addressing the agency’s 36th anniversary luncheon and long service awards ceremony on November 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, said this significant milestone not only marks a journey of dedication and resilience, but also stands as a testament of the critical role of irrigation in the advancement of the agricultural sector.

He said that consistent and reliable irrigation service is critical to safe and abundant food supply.

“NIC is the standard bearer of the Ministry. It is heartening to see that the NIC operations are aligned seamlessly with the Ministry’s New FACE of Food initiative, which focuses on food security, agri-business, climate smart initiatives, and export expansion,” he noted.

Mr. Witter pledged the Ministry’s continued support and investment in the agency in the ongoing quest to safeguard the country’s food security.

“We must harness the power of modern technology …the NIC must be at the forefront of innovation and research. We need to invest in cutting-edge technologies and methodologies that optimize our irrigation systems and optimize our agricultural production,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the NIC, Joseph Gyles, in his remarks at the ceremony, said the NIC will be expanding its irrigation districts, increasing these from 16 to 19.

He noted that presently, the Commission produces over 60-million-cubic metres of water on an annual basis.

“As we navigate the future, we embrace automation and digitization and have accepted that if we are to survive in this global world sustainability must remain at the core of our operational ethos,” he said.

The NIC is mandated to manage, operate, maintain and expand existing irrigation schemes and systems established by the Government of Jamaica or by any department or agency, as well as to fix and collect the rates or charges for the use of such water systems.

The NIC maintains an island-wide presence through six district offices located in key irrigation areas.


Contact: Rochelle Williams

Release: JIS

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CARPHA Remembers Former PAHO Director Emeritus – Dr. Carissa Etienne as a “Tireless Advocate for Regional Solidarity”



Port of Spain, Trinidad. 01 December, 2023: It is with profound sadness and shock that I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends, people of Dominica, the Caribbean Community and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on the untimely passing of PAHO Director Emeritus, Dr. Carissa Etienne.

Dr. Etienne’s contributions to public health in the Americas were not only significant, but also transformative.  Her leadership and unwavering commitment to our Caribbean Community’s collective pursuit of healthier people, healthier spaces and a healthier Caribbean were a source of inspiration to many.  Dr. Etienne was a tireless advocate for The Americas’ regional solidarity, for she knew that was the only way to address the glaring inequalities that exist here.

She was the Director at PAHO for most of the life of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and under her leadership, CARPHA graduated from the PAHO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) arrangement to having framework agreements.

PAHO funded many of the programmes that are difficult to attract support, like the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) and the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department (MQCSD), which are important services for the Region to ensure the quality of medicines.  Under Dr. Etienne’s leadership, PAHO also funded non-communicable disease interventions, another area that does not attract large pots of funding, although the number one cause of deaths in the Caribbean region. 

During the Pandemic, CARPHA worked with PAHO to fund the downpayments to give 12 Member States access to COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to the tune of US$2.6 million.

Dr. Etienne will be remembered as a true Caribbean lady who worked with great dedication and focus throughout the horrible COVID-19 period and right up to her last working day at PAHO.

During this challenging time, we pray that God will give strength to Dr. Etienne’s family, friends, and colleagues.  CARPHA cherishes the memories of her remarkable contributions to the well-being of individuals and communities throughout the Americas, but especially the Caribbean.

The CARPHA Executive Management and staff stand in solidarity with our Caribbean Community as we mourn the loss of a visionary leader. 


Dr. Joy St. John

Executive Director, CARPHA

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