Ebola Rapid Response Team conducts planning exercise with provincial public health officials
FREDERICTON, Jan. 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Gregory Taylor today met with New Brunswick's Minister of Health, the Honourable Victor Boudreau, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary to launch a joint planning exercise involving Canada's Ebola virus disease (EVD) Rapid Response Team (RRT) and New Brunswick health officials.
This is the latest in a series of meetings and joint exercises between the RRT and provincial and territorial health officials to further strengthen and refine Canada's domestic planning and coordination efforts. The exercise, hosted by New Brunswick, tested various components of the province's public health response including communication, biosafety, infection prevention and control, laboratory response, epidemiology and surveillance, and emergency operations in the event of an EVD case in the province.
Provincial and territorial health authorities, healthcare organizations, and associations across Canada have undertaken extensive planning and preparation activities since the Ebola outbreak began in Africa. However, containing the spread of an infectious disease like Ebola requires collaboration across all levels of government and the health sector. Given that operational needs in each provincial and territorial jurisdiction may differ, planning exercises are an important component to ensuring mutual preparedness.
In addition to launching today's exercise, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Cleary also met to discuss Dr. Cleary's recent mission to Nigeria and Sierra Leone where she provided expertise in infectious disease prevention and control as an advisor to the World Health Organization's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Dr. Cleary's lessons learned from her on-the-ground experience will contribute to Canada's own domestic preparedness.
Also, Dr. Taylor took an opportunity to thank the Government of New Brunswick for its contributions to the global fight against Ebola in West Africa through its donation of expertise and surplus medical supplies, including critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE). In October 2014, the Province of New Brunswick, in co-ordination with Public Health Agency of Canada, donated $425,000 worth of surplus personal protective equipment to the World Health Organization.
- The Government of Canada's RRTs are comprised of Public Health Agency experts who are ready to deploy upon request and specifically equipped to provide surge capacity, additional resources and complementary expertise to provincial/territorial and local health authorities if a case of Ebola occurs in Canada.
- Today's planning exercise follows similar exercises between the RRT and other provincial and territorial health authorities.
- In October 2014, the Public Health Agency, along with Nova Scotia's Department of Health, jointly conducted the first simulation with the RRT to exercise the immediate steps the rapid response would follow to respond to a first case in Canada.
- Canada is a leader in fighting Ebola and continues to contribute to the outbreak response in West Africa. The Government of Canada has committed more than $110 million, to support health, humanitarian, and security interventions both at home and abroad to address Ebola.
- Canada has also offered in-kind support – such as mobile lab teams – and has donated 800 vials of Canada's experimental Ebola vaccine and over $2.6 million worth of personal protective equipment.
"Canada remains at the forefront of the fight against Ebola in West Africa. We are working diligently with our provincial and territorial partners to support readiness across the country. While we have not had an Ebola case we must be prepared, and we will continue to take all steps necessary to protect Canadians and ensure we are able to respond quickly and effectively."
Minister of Health
"The Government of Canada continues to work closely with its partners in health to ensure we are as prepared as possible in the event of a first case, and Canada's Ebola Rapid Response Teams are an essential component of our collaborative Ebola planning. Canada is fortunate to have a flexible, nimble model for rapid Ebola response, one that can deploy without hesitation when requested and adjust to varying needs from community to community."
Dr. Gregory Taylor
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
"Planning and preparedness for a possible first case of EVD in New Brunswick or Canada requires federal, provincial and territorial collaboration. Today's meeting with Dr. Taylor, members of the Agency's Rapid Response Team and our senior health care officials demonstrates the ability of all levels of government and agencies working together for timely and effective preparedness and response to events of public health significance."
The Honourable Victor Boudreau
New Brunswick Minister of Health
SOURCE Public Health Agency of 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; Bruce Macfarlane, Communications Director, New Brunswick Department of Health, (506) 444-4583