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PAHO/WHO to send out Ebola preparedness experts to member states

Published:Monday | November 3, 2014 | 11:32 PM

The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is mobilising teams of experts in outbreak alert and response to help member states in Latin America and the Caribbean ensure they are prepared for any potential introduction of Ebola.



In a release, the organiSation said missions will visit member countries over the next two months to assess levels of preparedness to detect, treat and control the spread of any potential imported case of Ebola.



In coordination with national health authorities, the missions will assess gaps and make recommendations for addressing them, and PAHO/WHO will provide follow-up technical cooperation based on individual countries' needs.



In addition, PAHO/WHO experts and experts from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network will be deployed if an imported case of Ebola is identified in any member country, to assist national health authorities in implementing their Ebola response plans.



The organisation has been carrying out a series of virtual and face-to-face training sessions on preparedness, risk communication and logistics.



It has also been disseminating norms and guidelines on infection control, the use of personal protective equipment, the collection and management of samples with highly pathogenic agents, disease surveillance, and laboratory procedures in the region.



According to the PAHO/WHO Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis department's Director, Dr Marcos Espinal, while there are no cases currently in region, the risk of an imported case is real.



As a result, he says, it is important that countries in the region have health systems that are prepared to quickly respond to Ebola and ensure that it does not spread.



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