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Ebola response plan activated

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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IN response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) declaration of the Ebola Virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has activated its national Ebola Virus Disease Response Plan.

The WHO made the declaration on July 17, 2019.

In a release yesterday, the ministry said the response plan, developed in 2014, is being activated to increase awareness, educate stakeholders, and prepare the country for any eventualities.

A Public Health Emergency of International Concern 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, the ministry said. This implies 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, it continued.

According to the release, 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.

In response to the WHO declaration, the ministry said it will be sensitising all relevant categories of individuals, including the members of the health team, ministries, departments and agencies, and the public; heightening surveillance activities at points of entry and scheduling sensitisation sessions for health care workers.

“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,” Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is quoted as saying in the release.

“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,” Minister Tufton added.


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