The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging regional countries to enhance disease surveillance at ports of entry and at health facilities following the categorization of the current outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) as a public health emergency.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
The declaration followed a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for EVD in the DRC. The Committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.
While the WHO said that the risk remains very high at national and regional levels but still low at global level, newly appointed CARPHA executive director, Dr. Joy St. John, is urging member states to enhance disease surveillance at ports of entry and at health facilities at this stage.
It is important that the region takes on a proactive approach. Use this as an opportunity to review and strengthen your systems,” she added.
CARPHA said that in keeping with the International Health Regulations, and the statement on the meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee for Ebola virus disease in the DRC on 17 July 2019, no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel and trade.