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Influenza outbreak would stretch Tobago's resources

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  • Influenza outbreak would stretch Tobago's resources

    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100&#37;"><tbody><tr><td>Influenza outbreak would stretch Tobago's resources

    THA Health Secretary:

    Elizabeth W Allard Tobago Bureau

    Monday, September 17th 2007

    </td> </tr> <tr><td></td></tr> </tbody></table> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td width="5"></td> <td> AN INFLUENZA pandemic in Tobago will test the limits of inter-sectoral cooperation and every health and government agency will be called out, says Tobago House of Assembly Health Secretary Oswald Williams.

    He noted that a number of agencies would be needed in case of an outbreak including immigration, quarantine, primary and secondary care, air and sea ports. He added that while they were confident of having selfless workers in the system "we in Tobago cannot and must not be guilty of inaction."

    Williams was speaking yesterday at a Table Top Influenza simulation exercise organised by the Tobago Regional Health Authority in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Ministry of Health and held at the Mt Irvine Bay Hotel.

    An influenza pandemic occurs when a new strain of influenza virus emerges, spreading around the world and infecting many people in a short time, and is capable of being easily spread from person to person, causing many deaths. A pandemic could potentially cause economic and social devastation.

    One of the objectives of the seminar was to sensitise designated Regional Health Authorities and community services members to their roles and responsibilities for preparation and response to pandemic influenza, and, using the Ministry of Health pandemic influenza, preparedness and response plan, assess the readiness of these institutions.

    County Medical Officer of Health Dr Mentor Melville in his contribution noted that the Crown Point International Airport had the capability to deal with people suspected of being infected with diseases, pointing out that there was an isolated area where people were kept.

    PAHO representative Avril Sue Chang told the audience that "being on top of the game" in dealing with the pandemic was of utmost importance.

    A similar pandemic influenza sensitisation meeting was held in St Lucia recently.

    "In the beginning of change, the patriot is a scarce man (or woman, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for it then costs nothing to be a patriot."- Mark TwainReason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Thomas Paine