Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, Thursday, November 6th, 2014: The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African Countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia is a Public Health Emergency of of International concern. The Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital has begun its preparedness by the development and implementation of protocols and training activities. The strategies of their preparation are related to early recognition and identification of a suspected patient, patient isolation, strict adherence to infection control protocols, appropriate donning and doffing of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) and supportive medical care.
The protocols for management are based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) guidelines. The TCI Hospital was visited by consultants from PAHO and WHO reviewed the protocols and inspected the facilities at both sites. They expressed confidence on the hospitals preparedness efforts and pledged ongoing technical support through the Ministry of Health and Human Services. The Ministry of Health and Human Services recently conducted a work shop of the clinical and environmental management of Ebola virus disease and the TCI Hospital’s Chief of Medical Services Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tennant presented on the clinical management and Nurse Surbrena Pedican presented on the donning and doffing of PPEs.
“Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital is demonstrating significant and proactive leadership to help our country prepare for and effectively manage any outbreak of Ebola within its many borders”, says CEO Jill Magri. She added, “We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and Human Services, WHO and PAHO as we continue to develop evidence-based international treatment and case management protocols. We have already placed orders for the required supplies and materials to protect our patients and our care providers and a training plan for all staff has been developed. ”
Patients presenting to the TCI Hospital are asked about travel history and contacts to ensure early detection of a suspected case. If a suspected case is identified upon screening the patient is transported to an isolation area that is away from the general patient population and with a separate access. Staff will be adorning PPEs when transporting the patient to the isolation area. The staff at the hospital will contact the Ministry of Health and Human Services as soon as a suspected case is identified. The laboratory confirmation will not be done at the hospital but at the CDC in Atlanta which has facilities for testing Category A type infections. Category A infections are those agents such as Ebola virus, that:
- can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person;
- result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact;
- might cause public panic and social disruption; and
- require special action for public health preparedness.
“We do not want to see Ebola virus disease in the Turks and Caicos Islands” says Chief of Medical Services Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tennant”. She added “We have to plan so that we can be prepared and mitigate the risk of our health care workers becoming infected and avoid transmission of the disease within the community by isolating and effectively treating suspected cases. Part of our training program involves the identification of a rapid response team that can be activated to care for suspected patients. We continue to revise protocols as new updates are published by the CDC, PAHO and WHO.”
TCI Hospital will be providing updates to the community as these plans further develop.