GCC health ministers set to review contingency plans
Manama, August 11, 2014
An emergency meeting of GCC health ministers will be held next week to assess member states’ contingency plans in the wake of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Scheduled to be held in Riyadh next on August 20, the meeting aims to draw up a common plan for all GCC member states that will be implemented with immediate effect, according to Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Aysha Mubarak Buaneq, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
In a statement issued after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Dr Buaneq said Bahrain will have a plan in place to fight the virus if any cases are detected in the future.
“Despite Bahrain being in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘low risk’ category, we will present our plan at the Riyadh meeting,” she said.
“As of now, we have not identified any cases that have tested positive for Ebola in any GCC nation and the comprehensive plan for Bahrain includes checks at the ports of exit and entry.
“We aim to be prepared to detect, investigate, and manage Ebola cases which includes access to a qualified diagnostic laboratory and, where appropriate, the capacity to manage travellers originating from known infected areas who arrive at entry ports and crossing points with an unexplained feverish illness.”
The WHO issued a statement on Friday following a meeting of its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, which gave advice on how nations should best react to the Ebola outbreak given their potential exposure to the virus.
Countries such as Bahrain, which have no potential or confirmed Ebola cases nor any land borders with another affected state, were advised to provide travellers to affected and at-risk areas with relevant information on the risks, to prepare to detect, investigate, and manage Ebola cases should they arise and to provide the general public with accurate and relevant information on the outbreak and the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of exposure. - TradeArabia News Service