CPS apprises French health officials about Sint Maarten Ebola Preparedness Plan and Travel Ban

A delegation from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Services (CPS) met with French colleagues (St. Martin) in Hope Estate last week to discuss preparations related to the Ebola virus disease (EVD).

CPS apprised French officials about the Sint Maarten Ebola Preparedness Plan and the travel ban that was officially announced by the Minister of Public Health on Monday, October 27.

French health department officials apprised the CPS that for the French territories to date, there was no travel ban in effect, and the French Ebola national preparedness plan has three levels when dealing with a suspected case of EVD.

After the discussion about the various scenarios, levels and possible collaboration, it was decided that there is a need for an additional meeting where all counterparts can meet and discuss associated logistics.

It was also decided that both sides will be working together to ensure an effective response and will seek the intervention of their respective supervisors and political leaders to ensure the effectiveness of the travel ban in protecting the borders of Sint Maarten/St. Martin.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever insisted that both North and South side health officials meet at the technical level before political dialogue begins.

“We did it for the Chickungunya virus where we worked together.  I am a strong believer that South and North must work together and share our human and financial resources to combat any health issues that will pose a threat to our island,” Minister De Weever said on Sunday.

This collective action has the sole aim of preventing and or minimizing the risks of exposure to an Ebola case suspected or confirmed.

The health officials are well aware of the challenges of one side having a travel ban and the other side not.  A follow-up meeting is planned to further discuss the details of the Ebola Preparedness and Response plans from both sides of the island.  Additional stakeholders will be invited to be present for this follow-up meeting.

Ministry VSA monitors on-going developments in West Africa with respect to the EVD outbreak on a daily basis outbreak which has infected 13.703 persons, and 4.922 have died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) as of 27 October.