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Taiwan donates US$100,000 to fight Ebola disease

Taiwan donates US$100,000 to fight Ebola disease

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While most of the global panic surrounding the Ebola virus seems to have fizzled, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to focus on finding ways to combat a possible outbreak here.

On December 23, 2014, ambassador to the Republic of China on Taiwan Baushan Ger{{more}} presented US$100,000 to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to help to build the country’s capacity to fight the Ebola disease.

Speaking at length about the strides being taken in the health sector, Gonsalves noted that because Ebola is not a localized issue, it does not mean that the Government should not prepare, in case of a breakout.

“We are the first country in the Caribbean to have a surveillance document for persons entering the country. It has now become standard, more or less. Of course, it is not foolproof but it aids in the tracking and we very early said that quite honestly, that we do not have as yet, the capacity to deal with an Ebola outbreak in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“If you going to quarantine somebody, you can’t do it like how it’s done in a US hospital; you can’t do that down at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. The place is just too small the way it is configured. We are looking for a location where we can build something to accommodate maybe three, four patients maximum, with Ebola. Not because it is no longer in the news, it means that it’s not in our consciousness. It has to be very much in our consciousness. It just takes one person to cause a panic and the economic consequence; there are adverse economic consequences, particularly since we are a tourism destination.”

The Prime Minister disclosed that the Government has been in discussion with several health agencies, including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He said PAHO/WHO has provided a schematic framework of what the facility should look like and the Government has already purchased a quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Medical personal have also been carrying out elementary screening procedures and some persons have been trained, with the assistance of the Cuban government.

“We have been to the ALBA heads of government meeting on Ebola. There have been technical ones following. Medical personnel have gone up to Cuba for further training,” Gonsalves said.

Also, in the recent presentation of the 2015 Estimates, funds have been provided to deal with infectious diseases, including Ebola.

Before handing over the cheque, the Taiwanese ambassador noted that Taiwan has been assisting countries across the world since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and pledged to aid St Vincent and the Grenadines in whatever way that is possible.

While he is thankful that his country and St Vincent and the Grenadines did not experience an outbreak, he stressed the importance of being prepared.

“Since the breakout of this disease in West Africa, it has killed thousands of people in those countries and some others in other parts of the world. That is why we take this initiative. There are serious consequences so we have to prevent it,” Ger said.(BK)

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