By Christopher Thomas, Jamaica Gleaner
The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has said it is reviewing the current protocols for dealing with any potential cases of the deadly Ebola virus following reports of an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Errol Greene, the WRHA regional director, told The Gleaner on Tuesday that discussions are ongoing. “We are conscious of the Ebola alert, and the regional technical director and her team are looking to refresh themselves with the different protocols, and to pull out all the stops to give the support that is expected from us,” said Greene. “Yesterday (Monday), I had discussions with the regional technical director, and she is discussing the issue with her team, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.”
Over the past weekend, officials from the Ministry of Health met to assess the systems that are in place to strengthen Jamaica’s readiness to handle any potential spread of the Ebola virus. The meeting was prompted after the World Health Organization declared that the outbreak in Congo is a global health emergency.
More than 1,600 people have died from Ebola infection since last August, in what has been described as the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history, behind the 28,600 deaths reported in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.
A confident Greene also told The Gleaner that adequate facilities are available in St James to treat any persons who may come in contact with the virus.
“I know we had facilities here in Montego Bay at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), and I believe those facilities are still available, but we’re looking again at whatever is needed, so that in case we have even one case of Ebola, we can respond accordingly, using the proper protocol,” said Greene.
When Jamaica had its last Ebola scare in 2014, a J$30-million isolation complex was created at the CRH to deal with the Ebola virus and other illnesses that require isolation. The sterile and infection-free area was built according to internationally accepted standards.