JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The sensitization of medical staff about the Ebola virus continued on Tuesday, November 4, at the Ebola Treatment Centre at the National Chest Hospital in St. Andrew.
  • The Ebola Treatment Centre is being developed at the National Chest Hospital and is being fully equipped to manage any possible cases of Ebola in Jamaica.
  • Dr. Harvey explained that all hospitals across the island are in close proximity to communities and the systems that are in place, which meet international standards, are with a view to protecting the health of persons in surrounding areas.

The sensitization of medical staff about the Ebola virus continued on Tuesday, November 4, at the Ebola Treatment Centre at the National Chest Hospital in St. Andrew.

Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson led a team including Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey and Chairman of the Board of the South East Regional Health Authority, Dr. Andrei Cooke, to a community sensitisation meeting at the National Chest Hospital.

The Ebola Treatment Centre is being developed at the National Chest Hospital and is being fully equipped to manage any possible cases of Ebola in Jamaica. A similar facility is presently under construction at the Cornwall Regional Hospital. These will be the only two facilities which will provide treatment to persons who may be infected with the Ebola virus if it gets to the island.

In response to concerns raised by community members about any possible dangers of having such a treatment centre in a populated area, Dr. Harvey explained that all hospitals across the island are in close proximity to communities and the systems that are in place, which meet international standards, are with a view to protecting the health of persons in surrounding areas. With respect to National Chest Hospital, he said that particular hospital since its inception has been the specialist facility for infectious diseases.

“We have been treating cases of tuberculosis and a myriad of other infectious diseases as this was primarily what the National Chest Hospital was built for. There has never been any negative effect on anyone in surrounding communities. The systems we have in place to manage hospital operations including waste management are in line with international standards. Hospital waste does not go out in the normal domestic waste disposal systems and so would not affect surrounding communities,” Dr. Harvey said.

He appealed to residents to ensure that they play their part in assisting with the country’s preparedness and response activities where Ebola is concerned.

“I have to stress that Ebola is a very serious disease and so everyone has to come together and play a part to ensure that the country is prepared. We ask persons to begin to pay more attention to hygiene practices including washing hands regularly with soap and water and using an alcohol based hand sanitiser to help to prevent the spread of viruses,” Dr. Harvey said.

The communities represented included Barbican Terrace, Barbican, Hope Pastures, Stand Pipe, Mona, Cedar Valley and Ravinia.

Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Andre Hylton, Head of the School of Public Health at UTECH, Professor Winston Davidson and member of the Board of SERHA, Dr. Carol Archer also participated in the meeting.