BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, January 11, 2023 (SKNIS) –Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Joy St. John met today (January 11) in Basseterre with the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, and updated him on regional general public health matters with a particular focus on COVID-19.
Dr. St. John received an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in October 2022 in part for her sterling contribution to navigating CARPHA’s effectual management of the Caribbean region’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew, who is a medical doctor by profession, warmly welcomed Dr. St. John and shared his philosophy in relation to the containment of respiratory infectious diseases and other public health concerns according to scientific evidence.
Dr. St. John said that she was very pleased with the engagement with the Prime Minister.
“I feel that St. Kitts and Nevis is very lucky to have the Minister of Health as the Head of Government,” said Dr. St. John.
She also said that she briefed the Prime Minister on the background of CARPHA and areas of capacity building between St. Kitts and Nevis and the regional health agency.
“Caribbean people have to live, work and play safely with COVID-19. I think that in the member states of CARPHA, we have vaccinated key sectors of the population including vulnerable groups,” Dr. St. John said while adding that Chief Medical Officers in the region have been tasked with monitoring levels of respiratory diseases and hospitalizations.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, was also present at the meeting.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is the new single regional public health agency for the Caribbean. It was legally established in July 2011 by an inter-governmental agreement signed by Caribbean Community Member States and began operation in January 2013. The Agency rationalizes public health arrangements in the Region by combining the functions of five Caribbean Regional Health Institutes (RHIs) into a single agency. They are the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI); the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC); The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI); The Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC) and The Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (CRDTL).