Dominica is leading the region in preparation for Ebola outbreak
Prime Minister of Dominica, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, on Friday while addressing a ground-breaking ceremony in Wesley, reiterated that his Labour Party's Administration has been able to allocate significant resources for supplies for healthcare workers as the country strengthens its preparations in the event of an Ebola outbreak.
"We are here to break ground [in Wesley] for this facility [Resource Centre] at a time when the entire world is going through challenges. I now have to take over a million dollars, monies that we could use for housing or other things, to prepare ourselves for the Ebola virus. And people do not understand these things sometimes – that you have money to do something but another urgent and critical issue comes up and you now have to take monies earmarked for another project and divert it to another more critical situation. And the Government must spend that money to prepare itself for Ebola because we understand the tremendous threat that virus poses to the entire world and that is why we are making a firm financial commitment to providing the resources to preparing ourselves for any eventuality or possibility.
On October 15, Dominica's Health Minister Julius Timothy attended the Council of Health Ministers meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to develop a comprehensive strategy to help mitigate emerging viral diseases, particularly, Chikungunya and Ebola.
On October 15, while speaking at the Venezuelan Embassy in Dominica, Prime Minister Skerrit announced that Dominica would be participating in an ALBA summit scheduled for October 20th to formulate a response to the Ebola virus. Dominica is one of the nine member countries of ALBA.
On October 13th, Prime Minister Skerrit spoke in depth about preparations to date in relation to Ebola while appearing on KairiFM's Heng radio show with host Kamala Jno Baptiste Aaron. Here is an excerpt:
"Additional supplies should come in this week to increase our stocks and to make it specific to Ebola so when we increase the stocks, we won't be using this for other things within the health system. It is a very large quantity. As a matter of fact, the initial budget that was presented to us was over a million dollars. I have indicated as Minister of Finance would be made available. Whatever is required to prepare ourselves, so if it is just to have the stocks present, we will do it. So we are not compromising. Obviously we are a developing country and there are certain limitations which your country will have but by the same token I do not believe that we should go about our lives living it in fear. You know, we have to be prepared. We have to be vigilant, we have to be mindful of the consequences of Ebola in our region. This is why we took that precautionary measure or decision in respect to the band Flavour."
On October 9th, out of an "abundance of caution," Prime Minister Skerrit announced the cancellation of the Nigerian band, Flavour, from its scheduled appearance at the Dominica World Creole Music Festival which is slated for the end of October.
On October 8, Thomas Eric Duncan, who flew to Texas from Belgium on September 19 and was admitted to a Texas hospital with the Ebola virus on October 1, died becoming the first person in the USA to die from the virus.
Between March and September 19, no person in the United States of America had ever been diagnosed with having Ebola.
On September 16 (6 months after first signs of the current outbreak of the virus), the CARICOM Secretariat said that it was formalizing recommendations in relation to the Ebola virus following the United Nations' upgrading of its classification which triggered an international response*.
On September 3, Dominica's Health Minister Julius Timothy announced that Dominica was monitoring the Ebola virus and that the local health officials were working closely with PAHO and the WHO in that regard.
Current outbreak of the virus began in March 2014 in West Africa. (Charles Jong- Prime Minister's Press Office)