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BRIEFSeptember 12, 2023

The Pandemic Fund: Reducing the Public Health Impact of Pandemics through Strengthened Integrated Early Warning Surveillance, Laboratory Systems, and Workforce Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

This is one of 19 projects to which a grant was awarded by the Pandemic Fund under the First Call for Proposals.  For information on the full set of projects supported by the First Call for Proposals, please refer to this press release


Pandemic Fund Grant in Latin America and the Caribbean: CARPHA support to the Caribbean region.


In recent years the Caribbean region has experienced many infectious disease outbreaks, including COVID-19, cholera, Chikungunya, dengue, H1N1, mpox, SARS, and Zika, which have had profound human, economic, and social impacts. Within the context of public health security, countries in the Caribbean are characterized by small populations with varying surveillance, laboratory, and human resource capacities. The region is highly interconnected with porous borders, heavy reliance on tourism, and vulnerability to climate change and disasters. This combination of factors significantly increases the region's exposure and vulnerability to pandemic risks. Pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) needs to be improved not only at the national levels, but at the regional level, as functional regional capacities can achieve the economies of scale and necessary coordination/integration that small territories cannot achieve on their own. With the $16 million grant from the Pandemic Fund, $140,000 in co-financing, and $9 million in co-investments, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will lead the regional initiative to address PPR gaps, accompanied by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as the Implementing Entity. CARPHA serves the Caribbean region as a whole and its member states include the 12 countries included in the Project: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Project objectives

The goal of this regional Project is to reduce the public health impact of pandemics in the Caribbean region by strengthening and integrating regional and national level capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks. 

Implementation arrangements and key components

CARPHA will provide leadership, technical expertise, and coordination of the project in partnership with the many stakeholders and the support of the IDB as Implementing Entity. The Project’s five components are as follows: 

  1. Improving regional coordination.  This component aims to strengthen regional coordination mechanisms such as the Regional Coordinating Mechanism for Health Security. It will strengthen partnerships with the health and tourism sectors and monitor cross-border surveillance and information sharing. 

  2. Strengthening surveillance. This component will strengthen and expand surveillance and early warning systems. This includes implementing an integrated regional electronic health information system (DHIS2), expanding early warning aberration tools, conducting data quality audits, and developing integrated surveillance bulletins. It will enhance and expand visitor-based surveillance, integrate indicator-based and event-based surveillance, and develop climate early warning systems and zoonoses surveillance. Linking with the first core component, CARPHA will also strengthen mechanisms and partnerships for coordination and rapid information flow during outbreaks and public health emergencies. The component will support workshops and establish partnerships for antimicrobial resistance (AMR), integrated food-borne disease, and zoonotic disease surveillance.

  3. Enhancing laboratory systems. This component will improve specimen referral and transport, enhance testing capacity for priority pathogens regionally and in countries, strengthen laboratory quality systems and the regional laboratory network (CariPHLN), develop AMR testing, strengthen biosafety and biosecurity systems, expand accreditation to ensure pandemic preparedness, and strengthen surge capacity at CARPHA's regional laboratory for viral diseases prone to become pandemic.  

  4. Investing in workforce development. This component will expand the regional workforce, provide training in public health disciplines, and develop protocols and guidelines.  CARPHA’s Field Epidemiology Training Program will develop minimum standards for human, environmental, and animal health staffing levels for the region, and amend the regional human resource workforce development/training strategy for the animal and environmental health sectors using a multi-sectoral approach.

  5. Strengthening health emergency management, risk communication, and community engagement. This component will support simulation exercises. It will develop an infodemic management framework and will establish mechanisms for early detection of misinformation and timely response. It will establish a platform for information sharing with other ministries, partners, civil society, media, and the private sector. 

Expected outcomes

Key outcomes include:  

  • Demonstrated capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks through the functional, integrated early warning and system surveillance in CARPHA and its member states, with CARPHA and member states prepared to respond to health emergencies

  • Increased cooperation in the Caribbean region for preparedness and response efforts

  •  Sustained and/or increased investments in domestic and external PPR funding


Key Financial Statistics

Amount Approved (US$)Total Co-financing
(in kind & in cash) (US$)
Total Co-investment
(in kind & in cash) (US$)


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