St. Lucia to heighten surveillance against Ebola

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St. Lucia to heighten surveillance against Ebola
Alvina Reynolds.
Alvina Reynolds.

St. Lucia will be looking to heighten its surveillance, against the deadly Ebola virus and other viral diseases, Health Minister Alvina Reynold has said.

Reynolds said equipping local health officials, to deal with any possible threats of the disease entering here will ensure early detection and safety for citizens.

The health minister recently represented St. Lucia at the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) meetings in Washington, D.C to discuss, Ebola, among other issues.

Reynolds said both meetings were instrumental in helping each country, to implement strategies and in some cases reinforce systems, put in place to deal with the deadly virus.

The health minister however, believes that the COHSOD meeting dealt with the issue in a more comprehensive manner, where Caricom member states spoke as a team and got necessary feedback on a way forward.

Apart from the Ebola virus, Reynolds said the increasing spread of Chikungunya was also discussed, along with dengue.

She said that St. Lucia and other CARICOM countries were promised  international support, if there is any case of the Ebola virus entering their territories. Advice and support was also given to these countries on ways to fight Chikungunya.

Meanwhile, Reynolds said during the discussions it was realized that St. Lucia is way ahead of its CARICOM sister countries, in terms of dealing with Chikungunya and dengue.

The minister boasted that St. Kitts and Nevis has taken pattern of St. Lucia’s education campaign and, Trinidad and Tobago sent its Chief Medical Officer, to assess how St. Lucia is managing with Chikungunya.

Meanwhile, it was also established at those meetings that fogging mosquitoes is not as effective anymore. She said Caribbean governments were all in agreement on this issue.

Reynolds therefore emphasized that the aim is to reduce the breeding sites for mosquitoes and for each citizen to take personal responsibility in cleaning their surroundings.

“We are grateful that the Ministry of Finance is assisting us with the resources that we need…It is not a Ministry of Health issue, but a national issue, all agencies, all departments are part of it, from the Ministry of Agriculture to Customs and Immigration,” she asserted.

The Chikungunya virus continues to spread rapidly across the Caribbean. Over 100 people have died in the region, after becoming infected with the Chikungunya virus, PAHO said.

Meanwhile, PAHO also informed countries internationally that there is no need to restrict trade nor travel from African countries affected by the Ebola virus.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has said the risk of the Ebola virus being imported to the Caribbean is low. However, countries were warned to take every precaution to ensure that there isn’t a slightest possibility of the virus entering any of these small states.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Where did the Health Minister get the idea that St. Lucia is ready for ebola? St. Lucia can't even stop the spread of chikungunya. On top of that, St. Judes Hospital doesn't even have BASIC supplies. No gloves, tissue, gowns, etc. Where are the wards or where will the wards be located where people will be quarantined? For goodness sake, the hospital in the South is STILL in a stadium.

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  2. The response in a country with little hospitals and lack of resources should be as follows: Train a RESPONSE TEAM to respond to suspected cases of ebola in the home. Ask persons with suspected cases to remain home and contact the emergency response team. The team treats the case in the home and quarantines in the home. The little hospitals we have and the high demands should not even attempt to deal with ebola. If they have a suspected case in hospital, the response team will sanitise the location and take the person to a seperate location used to quarantine and treat ebola. I repeat, donot even try to do this in our two little hospitals. you looking for a huge health care disaster.

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  3. WOW just the beginning!! let us pray for courage, protection, direction in the name of the almighty.

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  4. Everyone should get informed on Ebola. High temperature (fever} is not the only symptom of Ebola. Other symptoms include stomach pain, internal and external bleeding, vomiting and headaches among others. Over half of those exposed have died. It is very costly to protect the rest of us with just one patient. Protection involves isolating (quarantine) that patient which involves special facilities, having special gear (suits, gloves, face shields) which can be used only once and every time contact is made. The discarded gear must be decontaminated and properly disposed of. Everyone who had any contact with that patient has to be monitored for at least 21 days, for signs of the symptoms which can included a large number of people. All of the person's belongings which may include cars and pets must be decontaminated or discarded including his/her place of dwelling. The list can go on but enough to point out the seriousness, and expense involved with just one infection. To properly treat a patient, a blood transfusing may be required. Americans are now beginning to call for more stringent measures to protect them from the virus, such as banning all West African flights into the country, now that the disease has reached home.

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  5. wdf, no country ain't ready for ebola, bloody American made up disease, juz like every other disease they decide to throw into Africa and the Caribbean smh, population control indeed, also playing in the weather, like Haiti earthquake n much more, september 11th, no peace is in foreign

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  6. Is there an international conference to deal with the little booths erected at Babonneau? Just asked cause I can see the Minister only takes her cue from international conferences, even if in the meantime her citizens are at wits end with Chikungunya and are scared like sheep with the threat of ebola. I ask, What would a good Minister have done?

    She would have organized press conferences informing the nation of latest developments, bring the public through the media on a tour of how exactly the country is preparing. Ilustrate the various mechanisms employed at e.g. ports of entry, hospitals etc. Spread public awareness campaigns in schools, churches etc. because we seem to think that Castries is St. Lucia. This at least would have given the people some confidence and hope. Isn't that what a caring Minister would have done?

    Meanwhile the present Minister continues to ponder and base the island's state of rediness on the level of unpreparedness of other Caribbean nations. Remember the VAT argument, that Grenada has it already etc. etc. Now we know the true state of Grenada and their tax regime.
    This is the prescribed argument of this administration in support of its own mediocity and helplessness. Always choosing the most backward or ill prepared island in the particular circumstance and compare us to them. Pretty soon we will be hearing "but even in Haiti they don't have much drinking water." Then you will realize the pit that you have dug yourself into by accepting mediocrity and faliure of this in lure of good governance. Meanwile the airwaves are bombarded with party hack after party hack praising the Minister on what a wonderful job she is doing. All to their selfish selves know that they are collecting contracts money in case something happen to them or their family or can easily make poor US foot the bill. Remember Jadia's medical problem? Yes folks we are still paying for it, while we cannot even afford to go to dilapidated Victoria where the maternity wing collects enough water inside in dustbins, to water any farm. Yes Folks such is your predicament but go ahead continue to praise your party until you die!!

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  7. Mrs. Minister if we are ready, where are the isolation units if we find anyone infected with the ebola virus?

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  8. "Meanwhile, Reynolds said during the discussions it was realized that St. Lucia is way ahead of its CARICOM sister countries, in terms of dealing with Chikungunya and dengue."

    REALLY??? How? What performance measures are being used to test that fact? How do you know that "dealing" with the 'gunya is working when cases are on the rise?

    All I have are questions with seemingly NO answers. Come now Alvina, I know you're just trying to make Saint Lucia look good, but with all due respect... Cases of 'gunya are on the rise with no end in sight. Quite frankly, if you cannot get 'gunya under control, HOW can we trust that you can control an Ebola outbreak IF it ever touches our shores? Get real.

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  9. Stop, take one step back. ST. JUDES DOES NOT HAVE STERILE GLOVES (basic necessity) to deal with the few sick cases we have now and our Minister of Health is talking CRAP about St. Lucia getting ready for Ebola. Please stop playing politics with our health.

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  10. Come on, Alvina!! You and your ministry got no clue/solution for Chikungunya, farless Ebola!!

    You said you and your ministry shall heightened surveillance against Ebola, but how? Give us specifics, not mere generalization.

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  11. But why we like to display our ignorance on the www smh, and I bet my bottom dollar all those negative comments are from women just like the Minister...we have to come together as one with this thing and stop passing the buck. The Minister is sharing her views and what was discussed at the meeting. We all need to be our brothers keeper with this, now is the time to put country first instead of bashing each other.

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  12. When you are now hearing about the shortcomings being discovered in big countries we could never have been ready. If we get just 1 ebola case here and that is quite possible:
    International standards:
    4 health workers to a patient
    change body suits 7 times per day
    changing suits requires an additional nurse has a buddy to monitor the changing
    Isolation chamber
    cost america half million to treat the african in texas

    Can we afford that. Do we have the special thermometers. SO WEH WE GOING ALVINA

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  13. Don't be fooled it's not only the Nigerians carrying the disease now. Once u get in contact with the disease it can be any race. That's what is happening in texas now. I say this cause I live close to texas.

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  14. Whether or not this island is at low risk I believe putting a ban on all flights from these african countries will help. I believe if America did so they would not have a first or second case of ebola. we cannot be compared to the US. We need to start taking preventative measures NOW. Chickungunya is OUT Ebola is IN.

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  15. I notice that Lucia have many Nigerian students, please ministry of health put a plan in place God forbid one of those students visited one of those countries when they were on summer break just a thought Keep St.Lucia clean please.

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  16. Say what you want the minister and her has been doing a great job.I am giving her a passing grade.Lady forget about your detractors and stay focus my health is in your hands.

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    • A great job of beating her ass uselessly. For allher talk look how chickungunya spreading. If you for one second think that those politicians can do anything to protect you if ebola reaches here. you are a damn dumb fool

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  17. that's basically what America said "don't worry we have ebola under control" when ebola gets in st lucia those ministers will be singing a different song but for now they all sign up to get the vaccine already so they speaking for their bread. lucians wake up!

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  18. Folks in all our planning we must all pray for Divine intervention.Some of you may laugh but that is serious business.We must all pray to our Higher Power to spare us.

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  19. I not playing politics with my life they better do something quick thats not chickhngunya where you have a chance of survival DO WHATS NEEDS TO BE DONE NOW

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  20. Maciay stop blasting the woman. St. Lucia is at a low risk. All boarders and hospitals around the world can have all the protocals if they are breached that is when we are in trouble. It is up to every one off use around the world to get educated on what we should do to keep from being infected.

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  21. Since when I was a kid I realized fogging only chase away mosquitos. That was many many moons ago.

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  22. REALLY ?REYNOLDS ..YOU BELIEVE THAT THE RISK IS LOW SO YOU WILL JUST LAY LOW AND THINK EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.....AND THE CHIKENGUNYA .YOU DON'T SEE THE NEED TO FOG...LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING MISS MINISTER...FOGGING WILL HELP WITH EVERYBODY ELSE DOING THEIR PART .SO DON'T SAY THAT FOGGING WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE.

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  23. Stop speculating and act now.Take off the blindfold and act now Ebola is an international threat.It is a matter of time before it hits St.Lucia.Stop the talking and put protocol in place.Here in the US all guards are up at all major airports and are ready for just in case.This virus is no joke,
    So please Elvina get off your arse, stop playing politics and put things in place at all port entries and secure isolation sections in all hospitals to protect the nation.This is not about politics.

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  24. I taking that with a grain of salt. She only speaking this way because she getting pressure about the prepareness of the country.