Public Health professional Dr. Virginia Asin attended the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Caribbean Roadmap Workshop in Miami from November 14-18.
Dr. Virginia Asin, is Head of Sint Maarten’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.
The workshop organized to formulate a five-year roadmap and to strengthen health security for the Caribbean region to meet and sustain requirements of the International Health Regulations (IHR).
The objective is to develop capacities necessary to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and threats. A health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere whereby diseases spread faster and farther. SARS global economic impact costs were US$40 billion while Ebola was US$30 billion.
Infectious disease epidemics pose global and regional health security threats. Recent experience in the region with vector-borne diseases such as Chikungunya and Zika, and the threat of Ebola, highlight the need for national and regional multi-sectoral cooperation and preparedness.
Dr. Asin was invited to participate as a Caribbean Public Health professional, and to be present to share the historic moment of the GHSA being expanded to the Caribbean and the uniqueness that for the first time the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool will be used to assess the regional capacity to develop a GHSA roadmap.
The JEE tool goal is to set a baseline of capability across each technical area for the region; and to designate a few priority actions to help make rapid progress in each technical area.
Participants during the workshop sessions validated regional health security capacity data and filled in any information gaps; shared information and best practices; identified strengths and gaps; identified private sector and development partner resources available to support work at the regional and country levels; and facilitated and identified opportunities for coordination and collaboration among development partners, government agencies, civil society, and the private sector.
The Caribbean region, led by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Help Desk and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) hosted the workshop, in close coordination with the Pan American/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) to commence with the process in creating the five-year GHSA roadmap.
The U.S. Government is supporting the process through the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Additional participants to be included in future sessions will be representatives from the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency, and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security.
In attendance at the workshop were representatives from ministries of health, agriculture, environment, defense, trade, executive office, regional and national stakeholders such as civil society groups, trade associations, the private sector, and development partners.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Group photo of attendees at the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Caribbean Roadmap Workshop in Miami.