The Ministry of Health has outlined the measures being taken to prepare the country against the deadly Ebola virus now creating havoc in three African states.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. George Mitchell told reporters who accompanied him on a visit to the Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s last Thursday to distribute some protective supplies, that positive steps are currently being taken to ensure that the virus does not make its way into the country.
Dr. Mitchell said it is important that the population get a sense of comfort over the fact that the Ministry of Health has not been sleeping in relation to its preparation for the Ebola virus.
“Our main emphasis is on prevention of the virus entering the country …”, said Dr. Mitchell, a Cuban-trained medical expert.
He spoke of a meeting that took place with important stakeholders last week such as the Immigration Department, Ports Authority, Customs and the Airports Authority on steps to be taken to try and keep out the virus from entering Grenada.
He said the authorities are working with the airline industry and Immigration to ensure that persons affected by Ebola do not enter the country.
“…We have also made contact with the airline industry and our regional partners to ensure that all the necessary precautionary measures in terms of persons entering the country …”, he added.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines have announced that visitors from countries affected by Ebola would have to produce a medical certificate that they are Ebola free in order to enter the country.
According to Dr. Mitchell, the Ministry has prepared its health personnel to adequately handle the virus if it ever enters the country.
“We have body suits, we have gloves, we have the aprons, we have boots and … we can disinfect our health professionals if and hopefully … the time comes to be able to do that”, he said.
“…We have also been looking at the possibilities of scans to detect people coming in with the disease ….”, he said.
Dr. Mitchell disclosed that government has been able to buy a lot of the supplies that are needed in order for health care providers to respond effectively to an outbreak of Ebola in the country.
He spoke of Grenada now having in excess of 400 suits to be worn by healthcare providers.
In addition, he said that a possible isolation area has been identified by Ministry of Health for persons suspected of carrying the virus.
“We have to do some work on it, this is not something that is 100% adequate but we have to work with what we have and we are working on short term measures to ensure that we can get a place that will be used permanently for isolation now and in the future,” he added.
“We have also deployed protective equipment at different centres, so we have at the General Hospital, we have at the airport and we are going to be sending to other strategic areas so that our Health Care providers can be adequately equipped to deal with that particular problem,” he said.
The CMO pointed out that quite a lot is happening to make sure that the country can be in a state of readiness to deal with the deadly Ebola virus.
There have been nearly 7,500 confirmed infections of the virus worldwide with most of them in West Africa. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been hardest hit. There have also been cases in Nigeria and Senegal but both of those countries seem to have contained the outbreak there.
Ebola spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the virus and the only way to stop an outbreak is to isolate those who are infected.