Líderes del Caricom adoptan plan de acción conjunto contra el ébola y la chikungunya

Caribbean leaders agree on 10-point plan to tackle Ebola and Chikunguyna

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have ended a three-hour special summit here on Tuesday agreeing to a 10-point plan to deal with the outbreak of the Chikunguyna virus and any possible incident of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa.

“Heads of government expressed considerable concern, not just in relation to the possible health impact of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), but also about the disruption a single case could cause in the economic and social life of the region,” CARICOM Chairman Gaston Browne told a news conference.

Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said the regional leaders had also emphasised that the response to the diseases “must be a Community effort” and that “no member state of CARICOM must battle these public health challenges on its own”.

Browne told reporters the region’s responses to the two public health challenges are being coordinated by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and that the meeting here accepted that the likelihood of “penetration of the Ebola virus in the region is low, based on the low level of traffic from affected areas.

He added that while there have been no reported cases of EVD in the region, the 17th special meeting of regional leaders “urged the strengthening of the regional public health capacity to confront the possibility of an outbreak of Ebola and any other future public health challenges”.

The regional leaders received a presentation from St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, who has lead responsibility for health within the quasi-CARICOM cabinet, and also endorsed the measures taken so far by CARPHA, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the government of Cuba “to establish and strengthen regional capabilities to confront Ebola.

According to the 10-point plan adopted by the regional leaders, under the theme “Stop Ebola There and Here”, there was need to strengthen effective, coordinated measures at ports of entry to prevent Ebola from entering the region, including harmonising travel restrictions.

The leaders also agreed to strengthen health systems including training, equipment, laboratories and containment, and to enlist the participation of airlines in the region in transporting specimens and response teams.

In addition, they have agreed to create a Regional Rapid Response Team (CARIB REACT) that is able to reach any member state in 24 hours to support the national response team to contain and stop the outbreak early on, as well as launch an intensive public education campaign for visitors and citizens of the region.

The leaders have also agreed under the 10-point plan to organise a comprehensive resource mobilisation effort including a possible “Stop Ebola There (SETH) Fund” to which governments, citizens and businesses here and abroad may donate.

Another decision was to finalise and implement the harmonised regional operational response plan by mid-November, coordinated with national response plans.

Prime Minister Browne said the meeting had also agreed on establishing a regional coordinating mechanism with CARPHA as chair, including the OECS and CARICOM Secretariats, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA) as well as the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to report to the Lead Head government on Health “with the immediate responsibility to develop a comprehensive regional strategy to address Ebola preparedness in collaboration with PAHO and the World Health Organization(WHO)”. Cuba will also be invited to join that grouping.

He said that PAHO.WHO, the United Nations, development partners and other contributors would also be invited to a meeting within one month “to expand the effectiveness of our collective response” and that the annual summit as well as the inter-sessional summit would be used to “review and reinforce the effectiveness of these measures”.

The meeting also mandated CARPHA to complete the national assessments in collaborations with the international development parters and to develop a more comprehensive estimate of the resource requirements of the region to support an enhanced resource mobilisation plan.

Browne said as it regards the Chikunguyna virus, the meeting was told that as of October 27, 23 of the 24 CARPHA member states had reported cases of the disease spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito.

The leaders were told that regional countries were working along with the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and French Institute Pasteur to control the epidemic.

“However spread has continued with temporary economic disruption in some countries,” Browne said, adding that the regional leaders had also adopted a four-point plan to deal with the virus.

He said the leaders had agreed that there must be a multi-sectoral approach to fighting the disease that would include education, tourism, media, local government and other sectors and capabilities, including private enterprises and exploration of the use of new technologies.

In addition, the leaders agreed that “there must be a well-coordinated, continuous public education campaign on how the disease is spread, targeting the citizenry, travellers and tourism stakeholders”.

Browne stated there was also agreement on strengthening the vector control response capacity and the facilitation by PAHO/WHO of bulk purchasing of essential public health supplies, such as beds, nets, insecticides and repellent.

“The Heads of government also mandated a partnership among CARPHA, CARICOM Secretariat, PAHO/WHO to establish an annual Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week to facilitate education and vector control,” Browne said.

Caribbean 360

 

Caricom Statement on Public Health Challenges 2014

STATEMENT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SEVENTEENTH SPECIAL MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM) ON PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGES, PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD

4 NOVEMBER, 2014
Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met in a special session in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 4 November, 2014, for deliberations on the two current public health challenges facing the Community: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD); and the Chikungunya Virus outbreak.
Heads of Government expressed considerable concern, not just in relation to the possible health impact of the Ebola Virus Disease, but also about the disruption a single case could cause in the economic and social life in our Region. The Heads of Government emphasized that the responses to the diseases must be a Community effort. No Member State of CARICOM must battle these public health challenges on its own.
The Community’s responses to the two public health challenges are being coordinated by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Ebola
The Meeting accepted that the likelihood of penetration of the Ebola Virus Disease in the Region is low, based on the low level of traffic from affected areas. While there have been no reported cases of EVD in the Region, it urged the strengthening of the Regional Public Health capacity to confront the possibility of an outbreak of Ebola and any other future public health challenge(s).
The Meeting endorsed the measures taken so far by CARPHA, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat and the Government of Cuba, to establish and strengthen Regional capabilities to confront Ebola. The Heads of Government extended the Region’s condolences to those affected by the disease, expressed solidarity with international efforts to support the affected West African countries and wished a speedy reversal of the epidemic.
The Meeting of the Heads of Government adopted a 10-Point Plan of Action to Stop Ebola There and Here:
1. strengthen effective, coordinated measures at ports of entry to prevent Ebola from entering our Community, including harmonising travel restrictions;
2. strengthen health systems including training, equipment, laboratories and containment, and enlist the participation of airlines in the Region in transporting specimens and response teams;
3. create a Regional Rapid Response Team (Carib REACT) able to reach any Member State in twenty-four (24) hours to support the national response team to contain/stop an outbreak early on;
4. launch an intensive public education campaign for citizens of the Region, visitors and those outside;
5. organize a comprehensive resource mobilisation effort including a possible Stop Ebola There and Here (SETH) Fund, to which governments, citizens and businesses here and abroad may donate;
6. finalise and implement the harmonised regional operational response plan by end-November, coordinated with national response plans;
7. participate in capacity-building efforts at the global and regional levels to gain experience for our benefit;
8. establish a Regional Coordinating Mechanism on Ebola (RCME) with CARPHA as Chair, including the CARICOM and OECS Secretariats, IMPACS, CDEMA, and inviting Cuba to participate, The RCME will report to the Lead Head of Government on Health, with the immediate responsibility to develop a comprehensive Regional Strategy to address Ebola preparedness in collaboration with PAHO/WHO;
9. invite PAHO/WHO, the United Nations, development partners and other contributors to a meeting within one (1) month to expand the effectiveness of our collective response;
10. review and reinforce the effectiveness of these measures as implemented at intercessional meeting of Conference in February and again at our Conference of Heads in July 2015;
The Heads of Government agreed on the need for enhanced coordination of the measures proposed in the 10-point plan with clear responsibilities accorded to Regional Institutions and International Organisations based on competencies.

The Meeting mandated CARPHA to complete the national assessments in collaboration with PAHO/WHO and other International Development Partners and to develop a more comprehensive estimate of the resource requirements of the Region to support an enhanced resource mobilization plan.
The meeting also recognized the significant role that Cuba can play in boosting the Regional response and urged that this long-standing and valuable regional partner be urgently and integrally involved in the Regional Response Mechanism.

Chikungunya
With regard to Chikungunya, the first known cases in the Americas were on the island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten in December 2013. CARPHA predicted widespread transmission bearing in mind the Caribbean’s susceptible population, abundant Aedes aegypti vector mosquitoes, and frequent travel. Soon afterward, additional cases were reported in other countries in the Caribbean Region, and the disease spread at the rate of one country every one to two weeks. As of 27 October, 2014, cases of Chik-V had been confirmed in 23 of 24 CARPHA Member States (CMS).
Ministries of Health and CARPHA, with the collaboration of PAHO/WHO, and partners such as, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and French Institute Pasteur, have been working assiduously to control the epidemic. However, spread has continued with temporary economic disruption in some countries.

Against this background, chief among the decisions that the Heads of Government have taken are:
1. that there must be a multi-sectoral approach to fighting the disease that would include education, tourism, media, local government and other sectors and capabilities, including private enterprises, and explore the use of new technologies
2. that there must be a well-coordinated, continuous public education campaign on how the disease is spread, targeting the citizenry, travelers, and tourism stakeholders
3. the strengthening of vector control response capacity
4. the facilitation by PAHO/WHO of Bulk purchase of essential public health supplies, such as bed nets, insecticides and repellent.

The Heads of Government also mandated a partnership among CARPHA, the CARICOM Secretariat and PAHO/WHO to establish an annual ‘Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week’ to facilitate education and vector control.
The Heads of Government extended their appreciation to the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago for the excellent arrangements that were put in place at short notice for hosting this very important Special Meeting.

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