St. Lucia to set up National Task Force on Ebola

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St. Lucia to set up National Task Force on Ebola

Government is making every effort to prepare for any possible threat of Ebola entering the island and have started a series of discussions geared towards protecting the populace.

A detailed presentation was made yesterday in the House of Assembly by Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health Dr. Marlene Frederick on these plans.

Dr. Frederick said that her ministry has met with numerous stakeholders, especially principle officials that are responsible for securing the island’s borders.

It was also revealed that plans are being made to appoint a National Task Force on Ebola. A meeting was held with law enforcement officials and other parties yesterday to discuss this matter further.

According to Dr Frederick, two teams have been formed to respond to any suspected Ebola cases. One has been set up in the north of the island and another in the south of the island.

Both teams consists of a district medical officer, an environmental health officer, a fire service officer and a public health nurse. Two ambulances have also been made available for both teams.

Meanwhile, Dr. Frederick said while members of the public have expressed concern over the move to have the Ebola isolation facility at the compound of the Victoria Hospital, other arrangements will be put in place soon.

It was announced that the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has agreed to assist the island with the construction of a new isolation facility. This is in addition to screening and other measures in place at local hospitals.

Dr. Fredericks said protocols for screening, isolation and infection control at hospitals are suitable for treating a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola.

She also noted that no Ebola patient will be turned away, as there is a likelihood if one patient is infected and not attended to, it has the possibility of spreading.

Health Minister Alvina Reynolds in her remarks yesterday called for a non-partisan approach to staving off the disease. She said the Ebola virus is a national issue and everyone must get involved.

Reynolds also praised the government of Cuba, the OECS and ALBA for assisting St Lucia and other small Caribbean states, to ensure that they are as prepared as for Ebola.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus has said that citizens can rest assured that their health will not be comprised for revenue generation from tourism.

Theophilus said effective screening is in place to minimize any likelihood of St Lucia getting an imported case of the Ebola virus. This he said will be further strengthened as time goes by.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has said that the risk of the Ebola virus being imported to the Caribbean is low. However, Ebola in the U. S is a cause for concern for Caribbean governments.

Government recently announced a ban on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – three of the countries worst affected by the Ebola outbreak. Nationals from these countries are prohibited to travel to St. Lucia.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Let's make certain that the protocols for a confirmed case of Ebola include MOVEMENT & DISPOSAL of infected materials. Please!!! Please!!! Please!!!.

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  2. Sad to say that I witnessed how terrible and inappropriate an African was treated at the polyclinic. Needless to say if he did have ebola we would have been in deep shot looking at the so call health professionals panic and do opposite to what Dr Marlene Fredericks claimed they are trained to do

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  3. Educate the public. What if that New York doctor who is infected with the EBOLA decided to come to ST Lucia on vacation. Is that far fetched?

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  4. Everything in slu is a task force....nothing on the ground is concrete, if ebola comes to our shores it will be to late..in the short term educating the populice is the way to go..good hygenic habits and practices, use the media

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  5. Bloody hell empower your doctors and nurses please because like i said before its not CMO or the minister that will be the one treating ebola patients..................

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