Bridgetown, Barbados, April 3, 2020 (CDEMA): As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold in the region, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the United Nations Resident Coordinators’ Offices in the Caribbean convened the 2nd meeting of the Caribbean Partner Donor Group on Thursday April 2, 2020. The virtual meeting had representatives from 18 regional and international agencies including the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the technical lead for health in the region.
As at April 3, 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across CDEMA’s 19 participating states stand at 373 with 11 deaths. According to CARPHA, the number of samples from countries within the region have increased and as a result the agency is investigating measures to navigate the curve of the ‘first wave’. In presenting to the meeting, CARPHA also indicated that they have completed a series of bio-safety and bio-security training sessions for hospital laboratories and continues to provide support to the health sectors in member states in a range of areas including testing samples.
The University of the West Indies, through the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre is undertaking modelling to support assessment and analysis of the COVID-19 event. Psychosocial Support is also being explored by both CARPHA and UWI teams to provide virtual support, not only to the victims, their families, and the general public, but to the front-line workers as well.
Through the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM), CDEMA continues to lead the multi-sectoral coordination in support of the technical lead for health by working closely with the CARICOM Secretariat, CARPHA and PAHO towards strengthening of the health sector level coordination and readiness. CDEMA is facilitating the compilation of the Regional Protocol for Management of COVID19, which is being developed to support CARICOM States in their response to COVID-19. The draft document is scheduled to be considered by the Heads of CARICOM Institutions during the week of April 6, 2020.
The UN System through its various entities have developed a preparedness and response plan for COVID-19, which includes health response, operational support, logistic, plans for response to the anticipated socio-economic impact. The UN System also launched a humanitarian appeal and have reallocated existing funds to support COVID 19 operations.
Through the Regional Coordination Centre’s logistics and procurement cell, support is being provided to the logistics arrangements and the supply chain in the region with support from the World Food Programme (WFP), UNOPS, PAHO, UNICEF and CARPHA. The CDEMA CU has also requested each affected participating state to compile their priority needs list to inform the mobilisation of resources and procurement of items identified. CDEMA is exploring options to provide such assistance to participating states with the donor community to fast track the provision of needs.
The National Disaster Offices are either on high alert or have activated their National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOCS) where there are confirmed cases. Support is also being provided through the weekly meetings of the National Disaster Coordinators for enhanced coordination and information sharing across the region. In this regard, the Regional Response Mechanism continues to be on alert should the need arise for support from any Participating State.