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CARIBBEAN | Health researchers discussing impact of climate change on the region

CARPHA executive director Dr. James Hospedales. CARPHA executive director Dr. James Hospedales.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 28, CMC – Regional health and environmental specialists are meeting here discussing the impacts of climate change and the environment on human health among other health related issues in the Caribbean.

The 62nd  annual Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conference, which ends on Saturday is also offering discussion and networking opportunities for environmental health professionals, health researchers, policy makers and students.

Hospedales CARPA
CARPHA executive director Dr. James Hospedales addressing conference

“The conference …will be a whole feast of papers to help improve health policy making, to educate and update the doctors and nurses and some of the more current discoveries and there will be news there for people, as well, for people who have certain health conditions, what to do,” said CARPHA executive director Dr. James Hospedales.

The conference is being held under the theme “Climate Change, the Environment and Human Health” and the organisers said that the outcomes are usually related to provision of strategic direction in analysing, defining and responding to public health priorities of the Caribbean.

Additionally, there are strategies aimed at preventing diseases, promoting health and responding to public health threats and emergencies.

Hospedales said that research papers presented have shown that the Caribbean has no legislation governing human subject research and this hampers the development of healthcare programmes and policies putting persons at a disadvantage in accessing quality healthcare.

However, he added that CARPHA is working towards ensuring that research papers and other information presented at the conference have a positive impact on the public health sector.

“Under our watch (CARPHA), we are working so that the conference could have more impact, it’s part of the agency’s role in both supporting and conducting research, so we do training and capacity building, and the annual conference is here as a knowledge sharing forum.”

Delegates have been told that even though the information presented at the conference is of substance, there still is more that needs to be done. Research in a continually developing Caribbean region is expected to be constant so as to remain relevant in bringing solutions to public health problems, threats and emergencies.

The primary purpose of the conference is to disseminate research findings which will facilitate the development of evidence-based policies, programmes, and practices that will enhance the delivery of superior health care. It had been noted that the annual research conference is the longest running health conference in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings told the conference that Caribbean public health officials have a responsibility to put their best efforts forward in alleviating the effects of climate change.

“Our world is beset by challenging global issues, foremost among which are the very ones that are highlighted in the theme of this conference – Climate Change, the Environment and Human Health at every level, be it national, regional or global.

“Governments have expressed deep concern about the impact of climate change on the environment and our human resource assets. Both of them are vulnerable and susceptible to the spread of infectious diseases that are predicted to occur as a result of climate change. As a consequence, scientists have been vigorously pursuing avenues to advance responses that would mitigate the effects of climate change and protect the environment and our people,” he said.

Cummings emphasised the theme’s relevance to the country’s development, noting that there is a need for a collective and multi-sectoral approach as a response to climate change.

“The scientific findings that will be shared at this forum must filter down to the people at the grassroot level, where the challenge is often greatest. We have to educate our people about climate change in concrete terms. We must inform them about the ways in which they can protect and preserve the environment so that they have a greater appreciation of its importance,” he told delegates.

He said Guyana is looking forward to the data that will emanate from the professionals as gaps are identified through research and a road-map will be delivered which will chart and coordinate effective public health interventions to climate change.

  • Countries: CARICOM

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