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CARICOM Prepares Response to Ebola Virus and Chikungunya Epidemic

The Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it is formalizing recommendations to deal with any possible incidence of the Ebola virus and is also improving efforts to respond to the Chikungunya epidemic.

A CARICOM statement said that chief medical officers and other technical health experts from CARICOM member states met via video conference to rationalize the region’s response to the two diseases.

The meeting was convened by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

“Among draft proposals that were fleshed out at the meeting was the achievement of the core competencies cited in WHO’s International Health Regulations. Discussions additionally focused on the need to urge a calm but prudent response when applying the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation with regards to the Ebola virus – no restrictions on travel and trade in areas where the Ebola transmission has occurred,” the statement said.

It said the meeting also discussed the “urgent need to put in place isolation facilities and resources to permit barrier management of suspected or affected cases of Ebola.”

Meanwhile, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, who has ended a visit to Guyana, has assured that there was a very low death rate from Chikungunya, despite the significant illness and disability it causes.

Etienne paid a courtesy call on CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque and met with officials of the Directorate of Human and Social Development to discuss the region’s response to the current disease alerts.

Etienne said that Chikungunya has had a significant effect on productivity and the social and economic life of affected communities, and it was, therefore, critical to concentrate response efforts on vector reduction.




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