The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is affirming that public health directly improves our lives and keeps us all safe. “The field of public health affects us all in ways that we are largely unaware of, as it seeks to improve the quality of the air we breathe, ensure the safety and correct nutritional content of the food we eat, and optimize environments to support healthy behaviors”, stated CARPHA’s Executive Director, Dr. Joy St. John.
In celebration of Caribbean Public Health Day (CPHD) 2022, CARPHA is seeking to raise awareness about the importance of public health and its impact on our lives, under the theme, “Public Health is MY Health”.
CPHD is celebrated on July 2 every year and coincides with the anniversary of the legal establishment of CARPHA. This special day was established to increase awareness of the field of public health and to highlight how CARPHA’s work affects the everyday lives of Caribbean people. Public health is defined as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals”.
CARPHA was established to be the steward of this field for the Caribbean region in July 2011. The agency began operating in January 2013, after an Intergovernmental Agreement was signed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States.
While the field of public health and CARPHA’s work has a direct impact on the life of the average citizen, its victories are often silently celebrated in the background away from the public eye. The recent pandemic has increased awareness of the role of public health in managing communicable disease pandemics like COVID-19, but the field is responsible for several other areas like nutrition and environmental health, that impact our daily lives. Dr. Joy St John shared that, CARPHA’s work advances the public health of the region in several ways and expressed that, “CPHD provides an opportunity to highlight the contribution that public health has made and can make to the socioeconomic development of the region while sensitizing the Caribbean people about its importance”.
CARPHA’s work includes activities such as, monitoring health threats in local and visitor populations, responding to public health emergencies, laboratory testing services, food safety and security, health research, and ensuring pharmaceutical quality for safe use, as well as capacity building.
In recognition of the Day, CARPHA will launch a one-month-long campaign, utilizing social media and other traditional media channels to draw attention to specialty areas within public health. CARPHA invites you to visit its Social Media pages to join in celebrating CPHD and all public health practitioners in the region, as we work to support and maintain healthy habits in the Caribbean.