This comment was made during his popular radio programme ‘Ask the PM’ on Tuesday 18th November, when the Prime Minister gave an update on the Ebola virus and decisions that were made at the recent CARICOM leaders summit held in Trinidad.
The Federation’s leader disclosed that several leading regional and international lending institutions have made contributions to the account thus far, including the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Venezuela, through the United Nations (UN).
This special fund, which Caribbean territories can draw from, in the event that Ebola does infect their citizens, was established during a recently held special summit of CARICOM Leaders in Trinidad.
“We have created a fund, a fight Ebola fund. That has already received quite a bit of support from the Inter-Development Bank (IDB) (and) from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). It would receive some of the monies that Venezuela has given to the United Nations, and that will now come down to our region.”
Further, Dr. Douglas said, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and other private sector institutions will also make contributions to the account. However, he did not disclose the figures these organizations have donated.
On that backdrop, he stressed that such funds will be “critical” as the region prepares itself to restrict the Ebola Virus from making its way into the island. But in the event that the virus infects persons living in Caribbean territories, Dr. Douglas said that the necessary facilities will be in place to treat the sick.
According to Douglas, the resources will assist in “… improving our labs, so that they would be able to make the necessary investigative and diagnostic tests to determine, whether a patient has the disease or not.”
The Prime Minister noted that “funds” are also needed to develop a transportation system, which would assist in shuttling the ill to the various treatment centers around the region.
The Leaders also fundamentally agreed upon a 10 point plan which will be implemented in fighting both Chickungunya and the Ebola Virus.
“In that meeting we came away with a number of fundamental decisions and a number of things have been implemented. There was a 10 point plan that we released after discussing as to how we will deal with the Ebola crisis here in the region.”
The regional meeting was held under the theme “fighting Ebola there and here”, Douglas said.