Barbados??? Disaster Emergency Management systems, led by the Ministry of Health, will ???kick in??? should any cases of the deadly Ebola virus be recorded in the country.

Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand, made this point today as she addressed a press conference at the Ministry???s Culloden Road, St. Michael, headquarters.

However, she said before such systems could be activated, a level of planning needed to be executed. ???We are now in the planning phase and are meeting this afternoon as a Ministry to discuss some of these plans,??? she said.

The Acting CMO noted that while there were plans already established for Cholera, Ministry officials were working at establishing one for Chikungunya, H1N1 and Ebola. ???Ebola is just another disease, mind you it is a very serious illness, so we have to plan,??? she stressed.

Dr. Ferdinand said the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization were very involved in the Ministry???s planning phase, and would be consulted for technical advice and assistance when needed. In addition, she said the Centre for Disease Control and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) would also be consulted during the planning phases.

???We will not be saying ???oh, we can handle everything???; we are going to ask for help if and when we need it. PAHO and CARPHA are definitely in our planning phases,??? she said.

Dr. Ferdinand added that the planning would also involve the Ministry???s infectious disease expert, who would give guidance on how infected persons should be treated and the necessary mechanisms to be put in place.

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