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Oct 31, 2014

CEMO Prepares for Ebola Outbreak

In the event of national disasters or catastrophes, the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, is expected to take the helm. But when those disasters are confined to Belize City, the City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, is structured to take control. The entity is run out of City Hall, and meets every month to discuss disaster measures and, well, to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. On Thursday, CEMO met to discuss a new threat, a potentially nation-destroying threat – the virus called Ebola. Mike Rudon has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

The personnel at CEMO are the frontline persons who deal with all manner of hazards and emergencies. And that, of course, includes health emergencies. And any sign of Ebola in Belize would certainly qualify as that. Since knowing is half the battle, CEMO summoned Ministry of Health officials to give a presentation on the dreaded virus which is making its 2014 rounds.


Wayne Usher, CEMO Liaison Officer

Wayne Usher

“What we are doing this morning is to make sure that we are educated on the Ebola issue so that we may know how best to respond and prepare even before we need to respond, if you understand. We do our preparations before so when we need to respond, we know what to do in a concerted way and in a safe way, because our motto is to protect lives and property. So we have presentations like this every month. Every month at our meeting we do a presentation on current issues that have to do with emergency situations. So we are educating ourselves to better serve our purposes.”


For an organization which is challenged even by flooding in the city, the threat of Ebola must seem daunting. It’s not casting aspersions on this particular Council body, but resources for disaster mitigation of any farm are chronically lacking across the board. But this morning’s session isn’t about capacity building just yet – it’s more about awareness.


Wayne Usher

“By us knowing what is the depth of the situation with Ebola – what ramifications it has, what are the dangers…that puts us in a better position to ask the pertinent questions from the Ministry of Health to get the proper guidance as to how we should equip ourselves and prepare ourselves to help the wider public. So this meeting is one of information sharing and then we’ll be able to ask the pertinent questions to capacitate ourselves to better serve the public.”


The session this morning included the participation of Central Health Regional Manager Oneida Smith, who is responsible for and oversees the provision of health services in the entire district, with the exception of the KHMH which has its own administrative body. All regional managers have been involved with the post-Ebola threat health protocol revisiting and strengthening.


Oneida Smith

Oneida Smith, Regional Manager, Central Health Region

“What we have currently is that we are gearing all our necessary precautions on infection control. We are training our staff to put all the measures in place like the cleaning agents, to disinfect, to handle the patients in a different way in terms of using the gloves whenever you have to attend to someone, or your mask if that person has an infectious disease, and that is to cut cross-contamination or transmission from one patient to another, so what we are strengthening are the infection control measures in all institutions, in all health facilities, health centres across the board, and we are training the staff in the different diseases, how to manage, and also we go further to train the community health workers so we have that in the community also.”


As we’ve mentioned, lack of resources in Belize is an epidemic of disaster proportions, but it hasn’t been more of an issue than normal, since the new measures are not new – just suddenly more important with the scary spectre of Ebola.


Oneida Smith

“We have officers trained in each hospital, we have infection control nurses, we have doctors and they facilitate the training and so it’s not costly, so we are coping with that. And the infection is nothing new. We are strengthening in proper hand-washing, how to wash your hands. We have soap, we have water, we have all those supplies in our hospital, it is part of our requisition on a monthly basis.”


The session this morning also included a presentation on the spiritual aspect of dealing with disasters. Mike Rudon for News Five.


The Ministry of Health released an update on what it is calling the National Ebola Plan of Action, which includes enhanced training and the strengthening of surveillance and inspection protocols at all points of entry into Belize. The hotline for any Ebola related information is 629-5604.

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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2 Responses for “CEMO Prepares for Ebola Outbreak”

  1. Rod says:

    Everyone in this country will die from Ebola if this pm insist on letting in all the nigerians from Africa for votes you and your family will die if you the people do not stop this pm from letting in all the Africans from Nigeria and Liberia.

  2. politics again says:

    EYYY ROD. keep urself updated. all people travelling to and fro. from places like those are not being granted permission to enter belize. talk but no know. another Pup BRAIN WASHED VICTIM

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