The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) can be seen as one institutional manifestation of the commitment of the region to ensure that it remains on the right side of the link between health and development. In shaping up the Region on a sustainable development path, governments of the region have displayed reliance on CARPHA in piloting the way to the right development choice. This means that as far as the Caribbean is concerned, CARPHA is a public health agency with a difference, since it presents developmental prospects to the region. Still, ever since the Heads of Government proposed the adoption of the principle that the health of the region is the wealth of the region, there has been a greater consciousness of the economic contribution of health investments in the Caribbean. Still, ever since the Heads of Government proposed the adoption of the principle that the health of the region is the wealth of the region, there has been a greater consciousness of the economic contribution of health investments in the Caribbean.
A simple model was constructed to highlight the responsibility CARPHA shares with other public health agencies in the region and to find a way of identifying the share of the regional benefit than can be attributed to CARPHA. The main finding here was that the losses averted by CARPHA’s work have been estimated at US$253 million annually. It is important to point out that all the relevant assumptions made leaned in the direction of an underestimate of averted losses. Determining the soundness of investing in CARPHA—a study compared the projected cost of CARPHA over a three-year period with the estimate of averted losses. Since the three-year cost has been previously estimated at US$33 million, it is clear that the averted losses for the period, namely US$756 million, outweigh these costs by a factor of more than 22.
Research shows that the potential economic contribution of CARPHA will only be realized if the Agency is able to carry out its functions to the best of its ability. What this means is that, unlike its predecessor agencies, CARPHA will need to be adequately financed. In a situation where the financing of CARPHA amounts to less than 0.05% of the region’s income and with CARPHA contributing more than 22 times what it costs to run the agency, the case for making the investment in CARPHA is a very strong one. CARPHA’s role takes it into areas where its costs are double what have been estimated so far, these extended costs will pale in comparison to the value that CARPHA brings to the region.