Doctors in Jamaica do not have access to the essential safety gear necessary to treat ailing patients during an Ebola outbreak.
According to a report by the Gleaner, a recent workshop held in light of the outbreak in Africa, erupted in concerns after it was disclosed that health officials in Jamaica do not have the requisite hazard-management gear, or even the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved personal protection equipment (PPE) to deal with the Ebola virus. Only standard PPE gear, consisting of a regular fabric medical gown, goggles, and N95 or N100 oxygen masks are available, and these are useless against the disease, the forum of medical doctors, firefighters and other emergency-response workers were told. The N95 can only last for four hours, according to doctors, while the N100 for 24 hours.
“If the Government doesn’t supply us with these things, who is going out to work?” asked one doctor from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the UHWI, sparking murmurs among the gathering.
The doctor hinted at the possibility of an outbreak, suggesting that there are students from countries affected by the virus currently at the University of the West Indies, and frowned on the Government’s lacklustre approach in preparing for the disease, which has presented itself in the United States.
“We don’t have any money in Jamaica, but if it comes, I don’t know how many of us are going to be willing to come to work. We in ICU are not going to deal with it. I’m not going to expose my doctors and nurses to that,” he continued. “So Accident and Emergency will have to decide what they are going to do with the first one (case).”
Source: The Gleaner