Tue | Oct 4, 2022

Jamaica activates Ebola response plan

Published:Tuesday | July 23, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton - File photo.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has activated its national Ebola Virus Disease Response Plan in response to the declaration of the Ebola Virus Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The declaration was made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on July 17, 2019.

Delivering a statement in Parliament this afternoon, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, explained that the declaration signals that there is an extraordinary event which has been determined, to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and to potentially require a coordinated international response.

This implies, Tufton further explained, a situation that is serious, unusual or unexpected, carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border and may require immediate international action. 

He outlined that the response plan, developed in 2014, is to increase awareness, educate stakeholders, and prepare the country for any eventualities.

He added that the Ministry will be sensitising all relevant categories of persons, including the members of its health team, ministries, departments and agencies and the public; heightening surveillance activities at points of entry and scheduling sensitisation sessions for healthcare workers.

At this time, the WHO has indicated that though the risk had been high locally in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is now also high for the region of Africa, the current global risk remains low.

“Given the relatively robust surveillance and infection prevention and control practices in Jamaica, the public can be reassured that the current emergency response arrangements are in place to enable an appropriate response in the event of the introduction of the ebola virus disease into the country,” Tufton said.

“The Ministry will also be ensuring capacities for readiness which includes addressing stock levels of critical equipment and supplies, protocols for specimen and patient transportation and reporting requirements,” Tufton added.

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