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  • Beginning next week, the Ministry of Health will be beefing up the number of health personnel stationed at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, as part of its Ebola Preparedness Programme at the country’s ports of entry.
  • This was announced by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, after touring the airport on October 29.
  • He pointed out that currently, there are 13 Public Health Inspectors, two Public Health Nurses and an Epidemiology Clerk at the airport, adding that this will be increased to 22.

Beginning next week, the Ministry of Health will be beefing up the number of health personnel stationed at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, as part of its Ebola Preparedness Programme at the country’s ports of entry.

This was announced by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, after touring the airport on October 29.

He pointed out that currently, there are 13 Public Health Inspectors, two Public Health Nurses and an Epidemiology Clerk at the airport, adding that this will be increased to 22.

Dr. Ferguson also handed over two new hand-held thermal sensors and three Personal Protective Equipment (PPE gowns) to Senior Public Health Nurse, Jennifer Pearson, who heads the team manning the health surveillance desk at the airport.

The Ministry’s communication unit also identified the sites in the arrival and departure sections of the airport where public awareness and health alert posters will be placed.

Further to its public education and Ebola preparedness programme, Dr Ferguson said: “We are going to speak with airlines to see if messages can be run on their screens, to ensure that there is clear visibility and heightened response relative to the threat of Ebola.”

The Ministry of Health is now preparing a declaration form, similar to the currently used immigration/custom form, that is going to the airlines to be used on board flights and will be asking specific questions regarding passengers’ travel details, Dr. Ferguson advised.

He explained that while screening will be focussed primarily on persons who have travelled recently to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, checks will also be made for other communicable diseases, such as cholera, malaria and yellow fever.

The Minister gave the assurance that special effort will be made to create balance in disseminating the anti-Ebola message to travellers, as “while we know that there will be a little inconvenience for our visitors and returning residents, we don’t want it to become a problem (or) a great irritant to (travellers).”

Dr. Ferguson also inspected an Isolation Room, where persons suspected of having any of the high alert diseases, will be held for further assessment.

Accompanying the Minister were Deputy Chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority, Calvin Brown; Ministry of Health Parish Manager for St James, Charmaine Williams Beckford; Medical Officer of Health for St James, Dr. Marcia Johnson Campbell; Regional Technical Director, Dr. Dianne Campbell Stennett; Chief Commercial Officer of MBJ Airports Limited, Elizabeth Brown Scotton; members of the MBJ security team and Superintendent Paul Stanton of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.