CARPHA Works with Trinidad and Tobago toward Strengthening Capacity for the Upcoming ICC T20 Men’s World Cup

May 6th, 2024

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The CARPHA and Trinidad and Tobago Teams on Day 1 of the Integrated Mission
The CARPHA and Trinidad and Tobago Teams on Day 1 of the Integrated Mission

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) held a 4-day integrated mission to Trinidad and Tobago from May 6th to 9th, 2024, with the aim of strengthening Surveillance, Early Warning and Response, Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases and Food Safety capacity in preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup and other Mass Gathering (MG) events.

The CARPHA mission, led by Dr. Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control (SDPC) Division, involved a multidisciplinary team across several of CARPHA’s technical departments. CARPHA focal points included Dr. Jarelle Branford and Ms. Sheena De Silva from Health Information, Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response (HCE), Mr. Keston Daniel of the Regional Tourism and Health Program (THP) and Dr. Laura-Lee Boodram, Head, Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (CR-FELTP).

Dr. Roshan Parasram, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health Trinidad and Tobago stated “Whilst Trinidad and Tobago’s preparation for this event began in late 2023, prior to the England Men’s Cricket Tour of the West Indies, this 4-day mission came at an opportune time which allowed us to focus on critical aspects of public health strategies related to mass gathering events. The technical support provided to stakeholders will certainly assist us to optimise our national plans. In this regard, we are grateful for the continued support of the Caribbean Public Health Agency.”

Dr. Lisa Indar remarked, “This wide scope of capacity building activities by CARPHA covers key facets of strengthening overall public health surveillance in Trinidad and Tobago, to prepare and mitigate against possible public health threats during the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup and other mass gatherings.”

The CARPHA team held insightful discussions and built capacity with several crucial health sectors, such as the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Unit, Public Health Inspectors and Liaison Services, the Insect Vector Control Division, Disaster Preparedness Coordinating Unit and Nurses, as well as the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, hospitality, and tourism sectors. Key outcomes and activities of this mission included:

  • Mass gatherings surveillance training for the surveillance team, public health nurses and other members within the health sector, was conducted for thirty-one persons. An inclusive, all-hands- on-deck approach was taken to emphasise the need for daily and real-time reporting, monitoring, response, coordination, and communication. CARPHA’s regional mass gathering syndromic surveillance system (MGSS) was detailed, including national surveillance, tourism-based surveillance and the new module developed for mass gatherings.
  • National Risk Assessment for mass gatherings, using the WHO/PAHO Mass Gathering Risk Assessment Tool, was conducted with approximately 20 participants from the public sector, including MOH representatives from the Cricket World Cup (CWC) local organising committee, surveillance, epidemiology, primary care, and disaster management teams with responsibility for coordination and emergency response efforts related to the upcoming Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup matches. The results of this will be used to guide preparation and response for the upcoming MGs.
  • Desktop simulation exercise was held with multisectoral disciplines involved in coordination and emergency response for the matches. A total of 22 persons from the MOH (Surveillance, Epidemiology, Primary Care, Environment), CWC Local Organizing Committee and Security (Police Force) participated in this exercise and were able to assess and demonstrate their skill and identify in-country resources in a controlled setting to provide timely and context-specific coordination and key interventions for MG events with risk of mass casualties and disease outbreaks.
  • Training on Food and Environmental Health Safety during mass gatherings for food handlers and restaurants was held with ninety-seven persons in attendance. The training focused on ensuring that all food handlers are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools to prepare, cook, store, and serve food to guests at the establishments and in a Mass Gathering setting.
  • Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases for the hospitality sector with an additional focus on Mass Gatherings was held with seventy-eight persons from hotels, food and beverage sectors working with the upcoming CWC.
  • Rapid response training was conducted for thirty public health professionals, including persons at the national and subnational levels, as well as medical emergency service providers. The training reviewed scenarios that necessitate mounting a response to a public health emergency by rapidly dispatching a multidisciplinary team to investigate and implement mitigating measures to contain the situation.

Trinidad and Tobago remains a popular destination for tourists both regionally and internationally, especially as it hosts major mass gathering events, such as Carnival, sporting, and religious events. This CARPHA integrated mission will bolster Trinidad and Tobago’s surveillance and response capacity and preparedness to effectively anticipate and manage potential challenges, ensuring a more secured T20 CWC tournament for all. It will also aid in future mass gatherings events.

CARPHA has conducted similar integrated missions in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Barbados, with Guyana planned for May 13-16, tailored to Member States’ needs in preparation for the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup and other mass gathering events, such as the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the 8th Summit for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

CARPHA and Trinidad and Tobago continue to work together to support preparations toward the T20 Cricket World Cup and other mass gathering events in the future.