CARICOM fund launched to combat disease epidemics

The Stop Epidemics There and Here (SETH) Fund was launched at the opening ceremony for the 63rd CARPHA Health Research Conference on 14 June.

The fund was created to provide financial support and assistance to CARPHA and its member states to manage outbreaks and emergencies with health and humanitarian consequences across the risk management cycles.

Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Timothy Harris – who is the CARICOM Lead Head for Health, Human Resource Development and HIV – said that the best insurance that a nation can have is to effectively manage outbreaks and emergencies that have severe health and humanitarian consequences.

“Our best insurance is to stop epidemics both there in our major tourist source markets and throughout the world and right here in the Caribbean.

“We have made good progress in areas such as disease surveillance, emergency preparedness and response, as well as health promotion and policy development. Today, CARICOM is progressing one step further with the official launch of the SETH Fund.”

He added that the fund will support member states to better respond to all major threats to regional health security, many of which are being made worst by climate change.

The initiative for the fund came out of the 17th special session of the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting on 4 November 2014, where two key public health challenges were discussed. These challenges were the Ebola Virus Disease and the Chikungunya outbreak.

“The meeting agreed that no member state of CARICOM should have to battle the public health challenges of infectious and vector-borne diseases on its own. Everyone can contribute to the SETH Fund which needs donations from citizens like you here and abroad, from regional and international governments, organizations, the corporate community and developmental agencies,” said Deputy Prime Minister Richards.

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