The Ministry of Health has reiterated its position that the Isolation Centre, located on the compound of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Enmore, Martindales Road, St. Michael, poses no threat to the health of residents, schools or businesses in the neighbouring community.
This assurance was given to members of the Board of Management of the Ursuline Convent, during a meeting on Wednesday, November 19, with Minister of Health, John Boyce.
This is the latest of several meetings the Ministry has facilitated with representatives of the school, which is located in close proximity to the Isolation Centre. The Ministry will also be meeting with residents from the surrounding community on Wednesday, December 3.
The Ministry noted in a statement released after the meeting that the building, which has been earmarked for the treatment of Ebola cases, has been designed in strict compliance with international standards for infection control, waste management and air quality. The centre will also be used for training and simulation exercises.
Ebola is not transmitted through the air but only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or with contaminated materials. As a result, there is no likelihood of anyone being infected simply because they live, work or go to school in the vicinity of the centre.
The Ministry acknowledges the anxiety expressed by some members of the public, and has made every effort to make sure that the facility is strictly isolated. The area is being double-fenced and the fencing will be covered. All windows are also being tinted opaque and the structure has been completed sealed.
A decision has been taken that the facility will be used only to treat any case of Ebola that might reach Barbados. Meanwhile, a long-term solution is being sought for the establishment of an infectious disease centre that will treat all infectious diseases in Barbados.
The Ministry assures the public that Barbados has a sound public health care system with trained staff in infection control measures and, in response to the current threat, training in the management of the Ebola virus is ongoing. It is therefore confident that the system will be able to safely manage and contain any case of Ebola if the need arises.