MIN­IS­TER OF HEALTH EN­DORSES EBOLA PREPAREDNESS EF­FORTS

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Min­is­ter of Health Hon­ourable Mar­cella Liburd has com­mended lo­cal ef­forts to safe­guard and pre­pare St. Kitts and Ne­vis in the un­likely event that the Ebola Virus Diseas (EVD) is de­tected in the Fed­er­a­tion.

She re­ported that rig­or­ous checks and screen­ings are tak­ing place at the bor­ders of the Fed­er­a­tion at all air­ports and sea­ports and that all work­ers at such bor­ders were sen­si­tized as to the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions and ac­tions that should be un­der­taken. The Min­is­ter fur­ther re­vealed that a nurse is sta­tioned at the Robert L. Bradshaw In­ter­na­tional Air­port and applauded the St. Christo­pher Air and Sea Ports Au­thor­ity (SCASPA) for the re­fit­ting of a space for the quar­an­tine and iso­la­tion of trav­el­ers sus­pected of hav­ing EVD. Prepara­tory ac­tiv­i­ties also in­clude the re­fit­ting and equip­ping of a treat­ment cen­tre.

Th­ese rev­e­la­tions formed part of the Min­is­ter of Health’s pre­sen­ta­tion at the sit­ting of Na­tional Assem­bly held Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 24. She re­layed this in­for­ma­tion from a re­port from the St. Kitts and Ne­vis Ebola Readi­ness Work­ing Group of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Coun­cil to which the Fed­eral Cab­i­net has over­sight. It was re­vealed that the work­ing group had met on Oc­to­ber 23 and along with Cab­i­net had out­lined the Fed­er­a­tion’s Ebola readi­ness.

“Our prepa­ra­tion is fo­cused on pre­vent­ing the en­try and spread of this dis­ease in St. Kitts and Ne­vis, while work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with our coun­ter­parts in the OECS [Or­gan­i­sa­tion of East­ern Caribbean States] in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean and glob­ally – to pre­vent the en­try of the dis­ease into those coun­tries yet un­af­fected, con­tain and stem its spread in af­fected coun­tries,” Min­is­ter Liburd em­pha­sized. “Our fo­cus is on surveil­lance, preven­tion, care and biosafety, strict com­pli­ance with in­ter­na­tional health reg­u­la­tions and adap­ta­tion of World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) and Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (PAHO) pro­to­cols to suit our en­vi­ron­ment.”

Min­is­ter Liburd noted that the travel re­stric­tion on per­sons from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea along with per­sons who had re­cently vis­ited those ar­eas was a pro­tec­tive mea­sure.

“We have im­ple­mented a travel ban from the three most in­fected coun­tries as a pre­cau­tion­ary and a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure, as a small coun­try with limited re­sources and not to spur dis­crim­i­na­tion and stigma,” Min­is­ter Liburd em­pha­sized. “That is why even when some peo­ple were call­ing for the in­clu­sion of Nige­ria in the travel ban and some coun­tries had in­cluded Nige­ria, we did not. Our decision was based solely on the data and the facts. We are there­fore pleased that the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion has re­cently de­clared Sene­gal and Nige­ria to be ebo­la­trans­mis­sion-free.”

The Min­is­ter of Health fur­ther elab­o­rated that since Au­gust of this year, health­care work­ers at all lev­els had been re­ceiv­ing train­ing.

Mar­cella Liburd.

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