Grenada's Ebola public health threat level raised to Guarded
Grenadian health officials keeping a close eye on what is now the world’s second largest outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has raised its alert level to GUARDED.“BLUE (Guarded) – The condition applies when there is a general threat of increased infectious diseases transmission (unusual virus activity/spread/outbreak, etc.) activity with no specific threat directed toward the Country. Additional public health threats security measures may be necessary,…..”.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that there should be no restriction to trade or travel, health authorities’ during its weekly senior managers meeting led by Health Minister Nickolas Steele, agreed that border surveillance, timely and regular information sharing among key taskforce members such as St. George’s University, Immigration, Air and Sea Ports officials, public education and awareness and the partial activation of the Ebola Response Plan will be the key focus areas at this time.
Minister Steele told his team that as best as it can, given its available resources, the country should be in a state of readiness to effectively respond should it become necessary.
Among some of the immediate measures to be undertaken is the reactivation of the advanced infrared fever sensing system and the installation of a second device, at the Maurice Bishop International Airport, as well as quarantine facilities.
WHO on July 17 declared the Ebola outbreak in the (DRC) as a public health emergency of international concern. Such a declaration of a global health emergency is intended to bring greater international attention and aid. But the status also comes with rising concerns that governments might overreact with border closures by raising its alert levels.
Meanwhile although not being complacent, the Ministry of Health is confident that its public health response strategies are among the best in the wider Caribbean after it became the first OECS Country to successfully complete the International Health Regulation (IHR) Joint External Review of its national public health and disaster - emergencies response plan. The evaluation team included experts from,
- WHO Geneva;
- WHO Micronesia;
- Public Health Agency Canada;
- Public Health Agency England;
- PAHO Emergency Department;
- The University of Carleton Canada; and the
- Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Jamaica.
Two OECS member states, namely Dominica and St Vincent & the Grenadines, participated as observers.Joint External Evaluation is particularly important for the Caribbean given the current public health threats that the countries in the sub-region are faced with.
The Ministry acting on sound advice from its local, regional and international public health experts, would like to inform the Grenadian public that there is no immediate threat of (EVD)to our tri-island at this time.