Canada's Chief Public Health Officer to visit West Africa

OTTAWA, April 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Dr. Gregory Taylor, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, will travel to West Africa next week to visit operations on the front-lines of the Ebola response and meet with international partners in the response to the Ebola outbreak. Dr. Taylor will be in Sierra Leone and Guinea from April 13 to 19.

This visit is an opportunity for Dr. Taylor to better understand and support the efforts of those serving on the ground and learn about the challenges of combatting the disease in the two most affected countries. The information gathered during this trip will help the Agency assess the region's evolving needs and leverage existing resources to help bring Ebola transmission figures to zero new cases in the affected countries.

Dr. Taylor's itinerary in both countries includes visiting treatment centres and laboratory facilities, and meeting with Canadian personnel, which includes Public Health Agency of Canada employees and healthcare workers in the field to hear about their experiences. He will also visit sites in Guinea run by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention with whom the Agency has posted staff.

Dr. Taylor will meet with government officials, international partners and non-governmental organizations to learn about their response efforts and activities envisioned in moving forward. He will be joined by Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, and Stephen Cornish, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières Canada, on visits of operations and discussions with other organizations contributing to the international response.

While there has been a decrease in the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa, ongoing vigilance is required to minimize the risk of resurgence of the virus in the region. The Government of Canada remains actively engaged and committed to supporting the global effort to combat Ebola and will continue to work with partners in Canada and internationally to help protect and promote global public health.

Since June 2014, the Agency has deployed mobile laboratories to West Africa to provide rapid diagnostic support for the outbreak. As early as next week, the Agency will send another mobile laboratory to Guinea.

Quick Facts

  • Canada is a leader in fighting Ebola and continues to contribute to the outbreak response in West Africa. To date, Canada has committed more than $110 million to support health, humanitarian and security interventions to address the spread of the disease and for further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures.
  • Canada's comprehensive approach includes financial, technical and in-kind contributions. These efforts seek to:
    • help stop the outbreak,
    • treat the infected,
    • meet the increasing humanitarian needs arising from the crisis, and
    • reduce associated threats to health and security.
  • The Government of Canada has also provided in-kind support and donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and of Canada's VSV-EBOV experimental vaccine—one of the leading vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials in West Africa. Our researchers were instrumental in developing Canada's VSV-EBOV experimental vaccine, as well as ZMApp, a promising Ebola treatment.
  • Canada sent Canadian Armed Forces healthcare and support staff to Sierra Leone to support efforts on the ground in West Africa. Canadian military doctors, nurses, medics and support staff are working alongside their UK military partners.
  • Canada's efforts and contributions are being coordinated with the United Nations Missions for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) and through experienced partners within the United Nations system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) community.
  • Additional information on the important role PHAC has played in the global fight against Ebola:
    • Researchers from the Agency's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) have played a significant and important role throughout the outbreak and have demonstrated that they are truly world leaders in infectious disease research.
    • In June 2014, a mobile laboratory from the NML was quickly deployed to West Africa to provide diagnostic capabilities to rapidly detect Ebola cases. By December 2014, Agency researchers were operating three mobile lab units in Sierra Leone. All were providing important diagnostic and clinical information to assist Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières physicians.
    • So far, a total of 16 mobile laboratory teams have been deployed to the region, with another to be deployed as early as next week.
    • The work of Agency researchers in Sierra Leone was critical to the elimination of Ebola in the Kailahun district and they continue to play a very important role in the Magburaka district of the country.
    • The Agency also donated a substantial quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support Ebola response efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.



"While progress has been made in the fight against Ebola, our work is not over. I look forward to seeing, first-hand, the operations in place and hearing from our dedicated people working in the field, as well as our domestic and international partners, about their successes, challenges and lessons learned to help us move forward in our continued response to this outbreak."
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer

"This visit provides a valuable opportunity for Canada to observe, first-hand, the impact of Canada's response to the Ebola outbreak and be part of real-time discussions with personnel in the field and organizations contributing to the international response. Canada has been a leader and at the forefront of the Ebola response and remains committed to working with partners in Canada and internationally in the fight against Ebola." 
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

Associated Links
Ebola Virus Disease


SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983


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