Minister for Health, Clarice Modeste-Curwen has announced that 50 packages of the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) level suits have been ordered and should be on island soon in preparation for any outbreak of Ebola in Grenada.
The female government minister disclosed the figure at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministerial Complex as she rolled out plans that are being put in place by government to protect and prepare the nation against the deadly Ebola virus.
Minister Modeste-Curwen pointed out that everyone who is associated with the fight against Ebola would need the suits to protect themselves and as such quite a number of suits will have to be ordered.
“Everyone has to have it, not just the doctors. The cleaner has to have it, and the person who is getting rid of the garbage has to have it. When you look at the number of suits, it’s about 10 suits or more to treat one person per day, so we looking to at least having enough for one week for two or three persons,” she told reporters.
“We have already ordered some suits from the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) but we are going to need more, and we are going to need a number of supplies. We ordered 50 packages and each package has thirty suits,’ she said.
According to Modeste-Curwen, government has spent in the region of US $2500.00 on acquiring the 50 packages of Ebola suits.
“PAHO has been able to bring it down by negotiation to US $1500.00 and the price is increasing so if you purchase it individually it might be in the region of US $3000 per package and I know that on the website, on the internet there is information on suits that are less costly”, she said.
“…We are following the guidelines of the experts, WHO, CDC, PAHO – the level four suits are the really optimal suits, so while we do have a few hundreds of suits that might be about between level two and three, we believe that anyone who has to confront a person who might be a suspected case or a confirmed case, needs the assurance that the suit he or she has, is the best that can be provided,” she added.
She assured the nation that government would not be putting medical professionals and other persons who will be directly involved in the battle against Ebola at risk with a suit that is not suitable to handle the virus.
Minister Modeste-Curwen also disclosed that member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have decided to impose Visa restrictions on the three main countries in West Africa that are greatly affected by the Ebola virus.
The decision was taken at the just-ended annual OECS Health Ministers meeting that took place in St Vincent & the Grenadines.
The Minister of Health stated that persons who wish to travel to Grenada from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia will not be allowed into the island.
“That has taken effect already because these countries – normally even including Nigeria – they are supposed to have their visa approval before they can come, so it is in effect… when they apply we generally do not accept their request because of the situation,” she said.
However, Minister Modeste-Curwen said that a different approach would be taken with Nigeria since the country has now been declared Ebola free.
“We’ve taken a different approach to that because they have not had in maybe seven weeks or two months going any new case and they have taken some very strict measures. They had to take the same border restrictions that we’re talking about,” she remarked.
According to the Health Minister, she is aware that concerns have been raised about St George’s University (SGU) due to the number of African students in their midst.
“SGU has its own specific plan that it’s collaborating with the Ministry on. Previously they say they told them monitor your temperature now – they’re not doing that even though they are from Nigeria and they are still Ebola free. They are going to be actively monitored over a period of time and some measure of quarantine be done so that we’re satisfied that nothing is coming in,” she said.
Minister Modeste-Curwen added that a committee is presently looking at the immediate action plan to see what more can be done to protect the country’s borders from Ebola.