Caribbean Cholera Preparedness

Meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group (ECDG) at PAHO/WHO Barbados

A meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group took place on December 1, 2010 with representatives from PAHO, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRCO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the Barbados Meteorological Services. The importance of preparedness in the context of cholera in the sub-region was emphasized, with special attention to the most vulnerable populations. Topics included cholera scenarios, preliminary assessments on preparedness, mitigation gaps, mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS, the feasibility of a multiagency appeal, coordination models, and the frequency of subsequent coordination meetings. 

There was a consensus that countries must be involved in decisions made and that the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM), Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Ministries of Health should be invited to the next meeting. A meeting with CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary-General and Programme Manager of Health Sector Development was conducted and it was agreed that CARICOM Secretariat will be part of the ECDG.

Priorities regarding the national cholera plans included not only the revision and updating of existing plans but also the development of communication plans, scenarios and the application of simulation exercises. Other agencies showed interest in a multi-agency appeal for the sub-region, with a coordinated approach for the response to the Dominican Republic and preparedness for the Caribbean sub-region. The next meeting of the Committee will be on Wednesday, December 15, 2010.