Partners’ HPSR report – 2021

Trinidad and Tobago


There are six HPSR-related institutions identified in Trinidad and Tobago: five universities and one international agency/NGO.

The HPSR landscape in Trinidad and Tobago is characterized by partnerships to build capacity and generate knowledge, looking outward to the wider region and beyond. The Health Economics Unit (HEU), Centre for Health Economics, for example, became a WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Economics and Financing in 2020, working to build capacity in the country and in other Caribbean states.

Institutions by type

List of HPSR institutions

Knowledge generation 

While the number of HPSR-related reports fell somewhat from 2018 to 2019 (from 17 to 10, respectively), the number rebounded slightly in 2020, rising to 13. The majority of the reports were produced by the HEU.

Average number of reports produced per institution each year in Trinidad and Tobago and overall

Engaging policy-makers and the public 

High-level sensitization sessions, dialogue with key stakeholders and capacity building for health officials have been the main strategies employed for knowledge transfer, and to influence policy.

Working with other Caribbean countries, the HEU focuses on implementation-based projects that have a clear vision for health financing reform and are backed by strong political will to implement change. The Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development (CCHSRD) uses national committees that involve health officials and HPSR investigators as a mechanism to implement recommendations from its policy briefs. These committees aim to ensure appropriate action to resolve issues, based on the research findings.

An average of eight meetings per year with policy-makers were reported, across all institutions, over the 2018-2020 period.

Average number of meetings held with policy-makers per institution each year in Trinidad and Tobago and overall

Average number of media articles published per institution each year in Trinidad and Tobago and overall

Academic and institutional capacity 

Across the institutions, 22 faculty or staff focusing on HPSR were identified in 2020. The number of participants in HPSR-focused short courses averaged about 20 per year during 2018–2019 but was reported to have decreased by almost half in 2020. Nevertheless, institutions in Trinidad and Tobago have a keen focus on building capacity within the country as well as across the Caribbean. For example, the HEU, which has a solid 25-year history of contributing to the health financing and service delivery building blocks, will support the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization to build capacity in several areas in its new role as WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Economics and Financing. HEU also initiated the development of a Health Cost Estimation Tool in 2020 to provide cost estimates for COVID-19 and other disease conditions.

The CCHSRD is the mentee organization for the Americas Region for the development of sustainable capacity for evidence-informed decision-making as part of the K2P Center-led mentorship programme, supported by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. CCHSRD joined the Partnership for Evidence and Equity in Responsive Social Systems in 2020, which aims to strengthen the use of appropriate mechanisms, and build conducive environments for advancing evidence-informed policy-making in social systems, with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CCHSRD also launched its Evidence to Policy Fellowship Programme in 2020, which promotes a culture of evidence-informed policy-making and practice in the Caribbean region, enabling policy-makers to use evidence in decision-making; and health researchers to support the policy-making process.

A network of researchers, health professionals, policy-makers, and stakeholders committed to building HPSR capacity in the Caribbean was also established (CoP4HPSR).

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME), strengthened the CARPHA EvIDeNCe portal – a repository of research syntheses and policy-relevant documents for the Caribbean region.

Several HPSR postgraduate programmes are available. To meet the needs of all stakeholders, and to enhance the capabilities of middle- and senior-level managers in the health sector, the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) rebranded its MHA Programme to a Master’s in Health Administration-Health Systems programme. The University of the Southern Caribbean offers an MBA with specialization in Healthcare Administration. Students can take courses in health care management, marketing, finance and information management. The Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business at the University of the West Indies also offers an MBA with a specialization in Health Management.

Short courses and training workshops have also been implemented. The HEU, for example, conducted workshops on the System of Health Accounts for Ministry of Health personnel from four Caribbean countries, and capacity building workshops on National Health Insurance systems for personnel in three countries. In 2019, CARPHA conducted short courses on policy analysis and development for technocrats involved in reducing obesogenic environments. This training was part of the Evidence-Informed Decision-making Network of the Caribbean (EvIDeNCe) established to strengthen research-policy linkages in the region.

Total number of HPSR faculty and staff

Total number of participants in HPSR-related short courses

HPSR financing

Trinidad and Tobago has no dedicated national budget for health research. However, the main sources of funding for HPSR in Trinidad and Tobago are government contributions to institutions, student fee contributions, and international organizations. The main international funders are the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (via the K2P mentorship programme) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

Two of the six institutions provided estimates on institutional expenditure, as included in the chart below.

Total institutional expenditure

Credits and disclaimers

Partners’ health policy and systems research report, 2021


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