VSA meets with SMMC on Ebola Preparedness Plan

Representatives from the Ebola Virus Disease Incidence Management  Team VSA(EVD-IMT) met with representatives from St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) to discuss St. Maarten’s Ebola Preparedness Plan. The meeting was held to share ideas and discuss a coordinated response. “”The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) along with all key stakeholders have taken a rigorous pro-active approach in order to ensure that St. Maarten will be prepared to respond in the event a suspected or confirmed Ebola patient surfaces in the area”, said Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever


At the meeting SMMC gave an extensive overview on the protective equipment they currently have in-house and what is still needed to be acquired.  An update was also given as to the area within the hospital designated as the isolation unit and the necessary upgrades needed  to further prepare that isolation unit.


“God forbid Ebola were to reach St. Maarten, the Ministry of VSA is working together with all key stakeholders to ensure that St. Maarten is able to respond in a professional manner”, said Dr. Virginia Asin, Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Department Head.


Under the supervision of the Infection Control Practitioner, Nurse Glenda Severin, Nurse Damali Bryson and Nurse Shanna Holaman gave a live demonstration on how the health care workers at the hospital are being trained to handle patients admitted with highly contagious diseases, particularly in this case for Ebola. CDC guidelines and International Health Regulations are being used to establish the necessary protocols that will be used to guide the isolation, care and treatment procedures.


In the case of several Ebola patients on island, SMMC is looking into how the isolation unit can be expanded or what would be the contingency plan. Future meeting with the French side and Social & Health Insurance (SZV) will provide more answers to this challenge.


A key preventative measure that came out of the meeting was the request for the public at large to be aware of procedures in case they think that they may have contracted Ebola. SMMC and Government are requesting that all persons who suspect that they may have Ebola should first call SMMC to notify them that you will be coming. This will allow the hospital to prepare for your arrival and ensure proper care and treatment as well as protect others, particularly the health care workers who are most vulnerable for transmission from an Ebola patient.