IDB offers TT$5 million to aid CARPHA’s Covid-19 battle

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The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will benefit from a US$750,000 (TT$5.1 million) grant to assist its regional health response to the Covid-19 pandemic, after the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a payment for that purpose.

The grant was financed by the IDB Japan Special Fund, which was established by the Japan government in 1988 ‘to foster social and economic growth throughout the IDB’s borrowing member countries’. Japan, according to the IDB, has committed more than US$230 million to this fund since its inception.

Photo: Doctors swab a patient as part of the test for Covid-19.

Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica are expected to benefit with the funding earmarked to enhance CARPHA’s Covid-19 detection abilities, mobilise surge response capacity and strengthen real-time disease surveillance and response over the next two years.

A portion of the grant will also be used to strengthen CARPHA’s laboratory capacity to meet the additional Covid-19 specimen-testing demands from their 26 member states, with a Caribbean travel health app being one of the potential spin-offs.

“Covid-19 has upended countries across the world, many lives have unfortunately been lost already and the pandemic is significantly challenging Caribbean economies,” said Rocío Medina-Bolívar, IDB Group Country representative for Trinidad and Tobago. “This grant is directly aligned with the IDB Group’s Covid-19 response and is one of many measures we have taken to support Governments and safeguard citizens across our borrowing member countries in the Caribbean.”

Japan ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Tatsuo Hirayama, also touted the importance of a collective approach to combating the global pandemic.

“Coordination is of utmost importance in this fight against the spread of Covid-19 and CARPHA continues to play a critical role in keeping with their intergovernmental mandate from CARICOM,” said Hirayama. “What is a threat to one country in the Caribbean is a threat to all.”

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