Monday, October 27, 2014

Dr. Gerry Eijkemans - Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) ...and World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to The Bahamas ...commends the Government for its efforts “to protect its people” from the Ebola Virus Disease

PAHO Representative Applauds Local Efforts to Protect Against Ebola

By Matt Maura - BIS:

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to The Bahamas, Dr. Gerry Eijkemans, has commended the Government of The Bahamas for its efforts “to protect its people” from the Ebola Virus Disease.

Ebola Virus Disease is a serious infectious disease spread between humans from person to person. Infection is transmitted by direct or indirect contact with the blood, body fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people, but only when they show symptoms. Ebola cannot be transmitted by air. The disease first appeared in 1976 in a village near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire).

“Even if an Ebola case was to hit the shores of The Bahamas, the country has taken all of the measures – based on evidence, based on what is known around the world - to protect its people,” Dr. Eijkemans said.

“I want to commend the Government of The Bahamas and to tell the people of The Bahamas that please, fear is not necessary.”

Dr. Eijkemans said the fact that West African countries such as Nigeria and Senegal have controlled the transmission of the Ebola Virus in those countries and have been declared Ebola free means countries “with even limited means,” have the capacity to control and fight the disease through sound, public health measures.

The Bahamas is well known for its strong public health programme that is facilitated by the Department of Public Health and an excellent team of administrators, doctors and nurses.

That track record includes The Bahamas’ distinction of being the first country in the region to eradicate measles. Public Health Nurses have also led the fight against other infectious diseases and epidemics such as Malaria, Dengue and most recently Chikungunya.

Public Health teams have been conducting and will continue to conduct Ebola Sensitization Training Sessions in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands including San Salvador, Eleuthera, Exuma, Andros, Abaco Inagua, Cat Island, the Berry Islands and Long Island under the auspices of the Surveillance Unit of the Department of Public Health.

Dr. Eijkemans encouraged Bahamians to not be taken in by the fear and/or hysteria surrounding the disease.

“As the Director-General of PAHO/WHO said recently, the fear that is going on around the world, including the United States of America, is unrealistic and disproportionate with the risk that Ebola presents to the world,” Dr. Eijkemans said.

“We have to be alert, we are ready, but there is no need to panic and there is definitely preparedness here that should put everyone at ease, and so I want to thank the Government of The Bahamas for the necessary actions they have taken,” Dr. Eijkemans added.

October 27, 2014