Saturday, October 18, 2014

Is The Bahamas prepared for Ebola?

Sands: Bahamas not prepared for Ebola

Guardian Staff Reporter

Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Chairman Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday he is not convinced the Ministry of Health is prepared to combat the deadly Ebola virus.

“I am not convinced that we have done enough to protect the interests of the Bahamas and the safety of Bahamians,” said Sands, who is also a surgeon.

“The people at the Ministry of Health can get [upset] as much as they want. Bahamians feel that we have not taken this thing seriously enough.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola death rate has risen to 70 percent.

Up to Wednesday, the death toll was tallied at 4,493, nearly all of them in West Africa.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen said recently it would be “nearly impossible” to prevent at least one case of Ebola from entering The Bahamas.

However, Brennen said the Ministry of Health has developed a plan it hopes would prevent local spread of the disease.

Sands said the entire world is up in arms over the virus, but The Bahamas seems slow to act.

“Regardless of how well the people at the ministry think they have this thing on lock, they are not going to be the ones who interact with the patient,” he said.

“I am not convinced we are ready. We talk about spraying people down.

“The protocol the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses for decontamination is a certain amount of bleach.

“But has anyone been trained on how to put on a hazmat suit, which can safeguard them, particularly now that we know that if it is not done precisely the way that the CDC suggests that you can still get infected? How many people are trained? Where are they?

“These are all important details that people need to know, just like when you go through the process of telling people to fill their bathtubs and get a tin of sardine and corn beef in preparation for a hurricane.”

The Ebola crisis has captured the attention of many people, including those in this region.

According to reports, Trinidad National Carnival Commission is considering postponing Carnival celebrations in 2015 due to fears associated with the Ebola crisis and the large number of visitors who enter the country for the festival.

According to the Associated Press, both St. Lucia and Colombia are banning visitors from Ebola nations from entering their countries.

October 17, 2014