In light of the ongoing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in three countries in West Africa and the recent World Health Organisation report indicating that the number of EVD cases is on the rise, Barbados is maintaining a high level of preparedness at its ports of entry.
The Ministry of Health has continued to maintain vigilance in its Ebola Virus Disease preparedness planning. Measures include training, simulation exercises, the implementation of protocols and public education.
To date, five national simulations have been conducted. The simulations are designed to ensure that staff is familiar with established protocols and are knowledgeable of how to respond if a suspected case of EVD is presented.
The Ministry of Health and the various response agencies, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Royal Barbados Police Force, have been able to fine-tune their procedures and address specific issues through the help of these simulations.
Plans are in place to continue simulations in the coming weeks and to extend them to the private sector.??Enhanced surveillance measures remain in place at the air and sea ports to identify any person travelling from the affected area.
These include the review of passports by Immigration Officers to determine passengers??? travel history within the past six weeks prior to travelling to Barbados. Once it is established that someone has arrived from a country where Ebola is endemic, specific precautions will be taken, including the administration of a checklist and an assessment by a Port Health Nurse, to determine the level of risk.
Members of the public are reminded that while Barbados has not banned travel to or from West Africa, the Ministry of Health recommends that residents defer travel to the endemic region, unless absolutely essential, until the current Ebola outbreak is brought under control.
Persons who must travel are advised to pay attention to their health after returning, and to follow the instructions given by port health officials upon their arrival in Barbados.