NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas will host the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) 67th Annual Health Research Conference – bringing together the brightest minds in the region’s largest research conclave.
This was announced by the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness during an Official Media Launch press conference on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at the ministry on Meeting Street.
Also present were: Colin Higgs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Wellness; Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA; Dr. Pearl McMillan, Chief Medical Officer; and other officials of the ministry and CARPHA.
The conference will be an in-person event, April 27-29, 2023 at Atlantis, Paradise Island, under the theme: ‘Caribbean Health and Tourism: Pathway to Recovery and Resilience.’ It will also be the fourth time held in The Bahamas.
Dr. Darville is happy that The Bahamas will host more than 200 delegates to CARPHA’s annual conference; a signal of improved protocols post COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am pleased to report that despite all of the public health challenges we continue to face as a region, thank God we are experiencing signs of economic recovery and our local tourism industry is rapidly rebounding despite the economic shocks and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Dr. Darville observed that The Bahamas will celebrate 50 years of Independence on July 10, 2023, and that during the time span, the country has faced a number of natural disasters, which speaks to the resilience of Bahamians.
“Although there are many factors that contribute to our strength as a people we remain grateful to regional partners and organizations like CARPHA which provide evidence-based information and scientific research to assist countries like The Bahamas with public health issues and with our recovery efforts,” he said.
In this vein, the conference will bring together experts from across the region, North and South America to The Bahamas to share their experiences, successes, and solutions to challenges and strengthen CARPHA’s regional position for the future.
“We are excited that this year’s conference will be held in The Bahamas and I assure you that we will do all in our power to ensure it will be a success and our local medical fraternity will benefit from the evidence-based information,” Dr. Darville said.
He thanked CARPHA Executive Director Dr. St. John and her team for the partnership and support over the years.
In turn, Dr. St. John was also pleased the conference is being held here; in partnership with The Bahamas.
“The Caribbean is known for its desirable tourism product and as a fabulous tourism destination. The Bahamas is one of the most sought-after spots and the Caribbean is one of the most tourism-dependent regions in this world. CARPHA therefore sees the partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness in co-hosting the appropriately themed ‘Caribbean Health and Tourism: Pathway to Recovery and Resilience’ Annual Health Research Conference, as a serendipitous collaboration,” she said.
Dr. St. John said she was also pleased with the contribution of the Tourism and Health Program to safeguarding the region’s product during the most challenging parts of the COVID-19 Pandemic through such measures as the Healthier Safer Tourism Stamp and training in the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPEs).
“These tailor-made initiatives in no small measure assisted in the resilience referred to by the CTO. Our visitors really believed that the Caribbean was a healthier, safer tourism destination,” she said
“With these outcomes of a real time global pandemic, CARPHA will continue to focus on optimizing the balance between the socio economic impacts with the public health impacts of any measures we recommend. The preservation of these gains will be CARPHA’s way of applying lessons learnt during COVID-19.”
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is the new single regional public health agency for the Caribbean. It was legally established in July 2011 by an Inter-Governmental Agency signed by (CARICOM), the Caribbean Community Member States, and began operation in January 2013. The Agency rationalizes public health arrangements in the region by combining the functions of five Caribbean Regional Health Institutes (RHIs) into a single agency.
The CARPHA Annual Health Research Conference is a platform for showcasing ongoing research to help Caribbean people better understand the intricate linkages between tourism and health.
As an advocate for Caribbean Research, although CARPHA has thematic areas of focus annually, the research committee accepts all research, which adds value to the further development of policy initiatives. It is also a space for networking and gaining insight.
CARPHA will continue its tradition of awarding Caribbean excellence in health research at the conference. A special banquet will be held to honour awardees.