AFD and CARPHA sign a new financing agreement on European delegated funds to support integrated digital public health surveillance in the Caribbean

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed a financing agreement on January 26, 2022 to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in CARPHA’s 26 member states by improving the resilience of the Region’s health systems. 

In many emerging countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected the health, education and economic sectors, which are fundamental pillars of development. This crisis has highlighted the critical role of digital services in keeping populations connected to their public health partners, educational institutions, and critical businesses.

In consultation with the Organization of African, Pacific, and Caribbean States (OACPS), the European Union (EU) is funding the DIRECCT (DIgital REsponse Connecting CiTizens) program in more than 55 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries in the health, education, and small business sectors to enable them to cope with current and future shocks. This 15.4 million euro program is mainly implemented by AFD in coordination with the Belgian development agency Enabel.

CARPHA has received nine hundred thousand euros (900,000 euros) under the DIRECCT program to implement the project to improve integrated digital public health surveillance in the Caribbean. This investment in the region’s health security will focus on the integration of real-time digital surveillance systems to improve risk assessment, monitoring, prevention and control of established infectious diseases and new and emerging public health threats by CARPHA and its member states.

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA, expressed her gratitude to OACPS, the EU and AFD, for their support in strengthening digital public health systems in the Caribbean region: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for real-time availability and accessibility of public health surveillance data by ministries of health to inform public health policies and interventions that are responsive to the situation on the ground. It is imperative that recommendations to protect Caribbean lives and livelihoods are based on the best possible data in the face of crises like COVID-19.”

DIRECCT projects aim to improve access to digital infrastructure by increasing connectivity, support the development of sector-specific digital services (education, health, and business) based on their needs, and then train people on how to use them. In the health sector, the main objective is to enable public agencies to quickly collect reliable data on the status of the current pandemic and possible future health crises, which are essential tools for institutions to provide immediate and relevant responses.