JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Minister of Health is re-assuring that Jamaica is being adequately prepared to effectively deal with any Ebola case, in the event of an outbreak.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, maintains that there is adequate protective gear available for health workers, and other first responders.
  • The Minister was speaking at Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s presentation of a cheque for $4.3 million to the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), for the acquisition of a thermal temperature scanner.

The Minister of Health is re-assuring that Jamaica is being adequately prepared to effectively deal with any Ebola case, in the event of an outbreak.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, maintains that there is adequate protective gear available for health workers, and other first responders, pointing out that arrangements remain in place for the acquisition of additional supplies.

“The (Acting) Permanent Secretary (Dr. Kevin Harvey) was in discussion with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) while he was in Washington, D.C., a week and a half ago, in relation to stocks that would be flown in from their warehouse in Panama…(which) we would be able to receive from them,” he added.

The Minister was speaking at Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited’s presentation of a cheque for $4.3 million to the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), for the acquisition of a thermal temperature scanner, at the financial entity’s New Kingston offices on October 21.

Advising that Ebola requires “continuous preparation” to effectively respond to its occurrence, Dr. Harvey said the Government, through the Health Ministry, is “continuously seeking to add to our stocks of equipment and supplies.”

“We are in the process of establishing all the necessary procedures and strategies for the response to Ebola, and we have had training with some of the staff at the ports of entry, our health care workers, and we have been having meetings and training with those who will have to dispose of the bodies (of persons succumbing to Ebola, should it surface in Jamaica),” he indicated.

Dr. Harvey said the onset of Ebola has resulted in continuous changes evolving in various areas where outbreaks have been reported.

“The situation is changing…in West Africa, in the United States, and all over. So, we always have to be reacting to some of these new changes that we are seeing. The (United States) Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is changing its guidelines, which means that we have to re-look at our guidelines and see what additionalities they are putting on the table that we have to take into consideration,” the acting Permanent Secretary said.

The thermal temperature scanner, which is being acquired from Canada, will be installed at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

It is expected to significantly boost the capacity of the facility’s immigration officers to accurately scan and record any indication of elevated body temperature by arriving passengers.