The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has partnered with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Germany’s Steiger Stiftung Foundation to provide emergency care during times of disaster, as well as during daily emergencies.
The three parties have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CDEMA executive director, Ronald Jackso, saying the initiative will benefit the entire region, and will ensure the sustainability of the emergency response system.
He said that it is also timely, as the issue of disaster and risk is no longer limited to hurricanes.
“Even as we contemplate the threat of a changing climate, one of the things we have to bear in mind is that the risk spectrum is growing beyond simply that of natural disasters…
“More and more new and emerging public health threats borne by mosquitos, linked to climate change with the pandemics and epidemics that are also ever present and pose a threat to the region, more and more we have to look to see how we can build up our health sector response in support of the broader, life-saving ambitions that we have both at CDEMA, be brought within the context of CARICOM and how we are looking at those particular issues,” Jackson said.
The programme will be rolled out in several phases, the first being in the Eastern Caribbean at a cost of US$150 million.
“It’s designed in such a way that we’re able to address those countries which present the most challenges in terms of logistically moving people in and out of the Caribbean space,” Jackson said, adding “certainly we’re going to be looking at the Eastern Caribbean as an immediate focal point for the roll out once we raise those funds”.
He said because of the magnitude of the cost to set up the infrastructure, “we have to break it up into pieces, because part of what we also have to do, is to look at the sustainability plan”.