Bridgetown, Barbados, 24 May 2021 (PAHO/WHO) - The Caribbean-Community (CARICOM) launched the Human Resources for Health Action Task Force for the Caribbean, on 20 April 2021, as part of the response to COVID-19 and other health emergencies in the Sub-region. This effort came as a mandate by the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) during the 39th meeting of November 2020. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will be acting as Secretariat and will provide technical cooperation to the HRH-ATF, mainly through the Sub-regional Program.
“COVID-19 showed us the importance of an adequate and sufficient health workforce with the skills and capacities necessary to meet the needs of the population. The HRH task force will allow countries to bring together their expertise and experiences to target on HRH challenges and priorities in the Caribbean,” said Benjamin Puertas, PAHO/WHO Advisor, Health Systems and Services.
The Human Resources for Health Action Task Force is made up of delegates appointed by the Ministries of Health of the CARICOM member states and will advise COHSOD on human resources priorities, such as migration of nurses, vaccine hesitancy among health care workers, impact of sanitary emergencies in the health workforce, including COVID-19, among others. The Human Resources for Health Action Task Force will develop policy briefs and guidelines to support human resources for health policy development in the Caribbean. During the session, participants reviewed and approved the terms of reference and the work plan proposal presented.
“The HRH Task Force represents an excellent opportunity for PAHO to provide effective technical cooperation at the subregional (CARICOM) and national level (Member States). Being the Secretariat opens interesting channels of collaboration with relevant entities in the Subregion,” said Benjamin Puertas.
Almost 50 delegates from ministries of health from twelve countries and two territories in the Subregion, and from PAHO, participated in the inaugural session. Representatives from the University of the West Indies and from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) were also present.