The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is assisting Government in an analysis of Barbados??? plan of action for the Ebola virus.

Acting Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, said today that PAHO???s technical assistance would also involve an evaluation of the protocols which have been developed; as well the state of readiness in port health, infection control, clinical management, surveillance, laboratory and inter-sectorial coordination for emergencies and disasters.

Mr. Inniss was delivering the feature address at a Caribbean Sub-Regional Training Workshop on Emergency Risk Communication, being hosted by PAHO at the Crane Resort.

The workshop has attracted media practitioners, professional communicators, as well as representatives of regional Ministries of Health, PAHO and the Caribbean Public Health Agency.??Mr. Inniss explained that the plan of action would guide the country???s response in the event of the importation of a case of Ebola.

He stated that work on the protocols was ongoing, and would also include private sector participation. ???This will ensure that all sectors and agencies have developed plans and are prepared to respond when and if required to do so,??? he stated.

Workshops such as the one hosted by PAHO, the acting Health Minister noted, helped to support national planning for outbreak emergency responses by providing participants with the necessary skills, including the ability to develop a standardised system of prepared materials and to organise regular technical briefings.

He submitted that policymakers and technical officers who dealt directly with the public must be prepared to establish and gain public trust by presenting information in an objective and understandable manner, which would enable them to take the necessary actions to be safe.

???This is one of the most important roles of government, that is, the preservation of an organised society, free of panic,??? he said.?????When there is a threat to life, to family or to economic viability, people seek reassurance???It is in this context that risk communication principles can be applied. For only government can bring to bear the communication resources and objectivity that these situations warrant,??? Mr. Inniss said.

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