OTTAWA, Sept. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Health Minister Rona Ambrose today announced that Canada will make available for donation over $2.5 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) to the World Health Organization (WHO) to aid in the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Recently, the WHO reported a shortage of equipment in the affected countries and has appealed to member states for donations for use by front-line workers in the affected countries.
Personal protective equipment such as respirator masks, gloves, face shields, and gowns are necessary to preventing the spread of infection and, when used correctly, can help reduce the risks of coming into contact with body fluids of an infected person.
Canada's donation is being made from surplus stock currently available through the Agency's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) and Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB). The domestic stockpile for emergencies will continue to have sufficient supply to meet Canada's own needs and protect Canadians.
The Government of Canada remains committed to aiding in the response to this outbreak and continues to explore multiple ways to provide assistance. The Ebola outbreak in Africa is the largest on record and comprehensive efforts are required to prevent and control the spread of the virus.
- There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada and the risk to Canadians remains very low.
- The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. It's spread through direct contact with infected body fluids, not through casual contact.
- The Government of Canada has a number of systems in place in Canada to identify and prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases like Ebola, including continually monitoring and tracking infectious diseases across Canada and administering the Quarantine Act at all points of entry into Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
- Any Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notices on the Ebola outbreak.
- To date, Canada has contributed $5,195,000 in support of humanitarian, security and public health interventions to address the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
- In addition to funding, Canada has also sent a mobile lab unit, based in Sierra Leone and staffed by Public Health Agency of Canada employees, that provides on-the-ground laboratory diagnostic support. This helps quickly identify when a person is infected with Ebola, so necessary steps can be taken to protect the person and their community.
- Canada also donated 800-1000 doses of the experimental vaccine, known as Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-based vaccine for the Ebola virus or "VSV-EBOV"
Today's donation of personal protective equipment demonstrates another way our Government is providing valuable support to those working in West Africa. To date Canada has contributed millions in humanitarian aid, as well as donated 800-1000 doses of the experimental vaccine, and sent a mobile lab to assist healthcare workers on the ground. We will continue to explore ways for Canada to make a meaningful contribution to the global response. I want to reassure Canadians that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Canada and the risk to Canadians remains very low.
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
Preventing further transmission of the Ebola virus is essential to controlling the current outbreak and the proper use of personal protective equipment is a key component. By providing these much-needed supplies, the Government of Canada is enabling healthcare workers from the affected region and other WHO response workers to continue to quickly detect and manage this outbreak.
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer
Image with caption: "The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today announced that Canada will make a donation of personal protective equipment to the WHO to aid in the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. (CNW Group/Health Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140915_C2923_PHOTO_EN_5622.jpg
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983