St. Lucia to heighten surveillance against Ebola

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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