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Oct 22, 2014

Belize Prepares for Ebola

With the news that the health worker aboard the Carnival Magic had tested negative for Ebola, the threat to Belize was gone. But it was a wake-up call, sent home to G.O.B. by a public driven to the edge of panic last Thursday. All relevant authorities have been spurred into action, with focus on the points of entry into Belize. So you may not see health workers at the K.H.M.H. walking around in hazmat suits, but according to Doctor Marvin Manzanero, that’s because they are putting layers in place to detect and quarantine long before any potential threat would reach those facilities.


Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Interim Head of Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health

“The preparation phase is ongoing. We had a NEMO meeting on Monday. We’re having an online training session today, we have one on Friday. We have a three day session next week. All of those mechanisms are being set in place. We’re actually in the process of completing the full identification of the isolation unit for health care workers that may be exposed and also what we would call a treatment centre for Ebola. All of those are happening as we speak.”



Marvin Manzanero

“Would I say anything different if I go to the K.H.M.H., or the Western Regional Hospital or the Northern Regional Hospital at this point?”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Well we are not thinking that a treatment centre would actually be at any of the health facilities as we know them. We are thinking of setting up a parallel treatment facility if that were the case. The quarantine office for health care workers would also be at a separate facility. We wouldn’t have it close to the established health posts.”



“I understand that. But suppose I get past the Immigration checkpoints. Suppose I don’t show symptoms until I get into Belize and then I live in Belmopan, so I go straight to the Western Regional Hospital. Is there anything in place at that facility or would I just be transported immediately to the safe facility, the quarantine facility?”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Well we are establishing layers before anybody gets there. The screening that has started at the PGIA and the specific procedures that we are trying to place there are measures to try to counteract or look for the patients from they are coming into the country.”


Manzanero says that at the specific health facilities they will continue to rely on basic universal precautions, infection control measures and adequate history-taking.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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