PAHO impressed with Bim’s Ebola preparedness
A Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) team that carried out an assessment of Barbados’ Ebola preparedness was “impressed” by what they saw during a visit to the island, Minister of Health John Boyce reported today.
The ten-member team visited the controversial isolation centre at Enmore Centre, among other facilities, during a four-day visit to Barbados.
While not disclosing what the PAHO/WHO delegation specifically said about the unit which will handle any Ebola cases in Barbados, a statement from the Government Information Service said the team was “impressed with the level of preparedness stakeholders had attained in a short time”.
However, the international health officials advised that Barbados establish a Communication Coordination Committee and that messages on hand-hygiene and infection control continue to be a feature of the Ministry’s communication strategy.
Minister Boyce said the next step was to coordinate a national simulation exercise.
He noted that the Ministry had the necessary protocols in place and efforts would now concentrate on fine-tuning those protocols and the processes to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness for workers.
“Our health care workers are the ones who will be at the forefront and every effort will be made to provide a safe environment for them to perform their functions. We are making sure that all the safety equipment is in place for them, and that they practise what they have to do so that we can be sure of their safety, as no harm must come to them as they carry out their duties,” the Minister emphasized.
The PAHO/WHO team had reported that the National Emergency Operations Centre was in operation and had the established procedures for control and coordination.
Training and a simulation had also been carried out and there was high-level stakeholder engagement and multi-sectoral collaboration throughout the evaluation, the statement said.
“However, continuous training and sector-wide simulations will be conducted to minimize error,” it added.
The PAHO/WHO team’s itinerary also included visits to the Accident and Emergency Department and the incinerator at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; the Winston Scott Polyclinic; the Public Health Laboratory and other labs; Bayview Hospital; the air and sea ports; and the Ambulance Service.
After leaving Barbados, the PAHO/WHO team will conduct similar exercises in Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent, and St Kitts and Nevis.