Grenadian health officials are 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) and have raised the alert level to GUARDED.
Represented by the colour blue, the alert level “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, and if initiated they should be maintainable for an indefinite period of time with minimum impact on normal business or expenses”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern but advised that there should be no restriction to trade or travel.
Local health authorities agreed during the weekly senior managers meeting that border surveillance, timely and regular information sharing among key taskforce members such as St. George’s University, Immigration Department, air and seaports officials, will be the key focus areas at this time. Public education and awareness will be heightened along with the partial activation of the Ebola Response Plan.
Minister of Health, Honourable Nickolas Steele told his senior managers that given its available resources, they should strive to ensure that the country is in a state of readiness to effectively respond, should it become necessary.
Among some of the immediate measures to be undertaken are 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.
The Ministry acting on sound advice from its local, regional and international public health experts, assures the Grenadian public that there is no immediate threat of Ebola Virus Disease to the tri-island at this time.
The Ministry of Health is confident that its public health response strategies are among the best in the wider Caribbean. In November last year, Grenada 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. This is particularly important given the current public health threats facing Caribbean countries.