On the heels of an assessment of the island’s response to the Ebola Virus Disease by a ten-member team from the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), Minister of Health, John Boyce, today reported that the delegation was impressed with the level of preparedness stakeholders had attained in a short time period.
Following a meeting, which included members of the joint planning and execution committee, 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,” Minister Boyce emphasised.
The PAHO team 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.
However, continuous training and sector-wide simulations will be conducted to minimise error. The delegation however advised that the local team establish a communication coordination committee, and messages on hand-hygiene and infection control should continue to be a feature of the Ministry’s communication strategy.
During its four-day visit, the team’s itinerary 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, the Ambulance Service and the Isolation Centre.
On leaving Barbados, the PAHO/WHO team will conduct similar exercises in Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St. Vincent, St Kitts and Nevis. (BGIS)