By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) — Montserrat will make history when it becomes the first Overseas Territory to take up the chairmanship of the executive board of directors for the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
The Minister of Health Colin Riley is in Washington DC along with ministers of health from throughout the Americas for the annual meetings at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). The ministers are expected to discuss the major health challenges facing the region and to set policies and priorities for PAHO’s technical cooperation in its member countries.
The 52nd PAHO Directing Council, which meets from 30 September to 4 October, will discuss agenda items including non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, which are increasing in countries throughout region; social protection in health and the goal of universal health coverage; human resources for health; and the use of scientific evidence in policymaking on immunization, among others.
Riley’s tenure as chair of CARPHA begins on September 29 and runs for two years. He will take over the work begun by Jamaica’s Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson. Jamaica will hand over the chairmanship during the meetings of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD).
CARPHA is the new organisation which brings together five regional health institutions including the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) and the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI).
Riley said he was pleased that Montserrat would be given its turn to make a significant contribution to strengthening and adapting the region’s health systems to address the changing nature of public health.
Montserrat’s opportunity came as a result of CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque advising strongly that the Overseas Territories should be given their turn to lead CARPHA in order to benefit from the expertise resident in the small member states.