GCC planning to counter Ebola threat

 14 Aug 2014 - 2:15


DOHA: The GCC countries have decided to come out with a broad plan to protect the region from the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD). 
It includes taking elaborate precautionary and preventive measures to face the deadly virus.
An emergency meeting of senior health officials held at Riyadh yesterday announced decisions and recommendations to ensure the region is free from any threat from the killer-virus.
The meeting was hosted by the Executive Office of Health Ministers’ Council for GCC States. 
Qatar was represented by top officials from Supreme Council of Health (SCH), whose Director-General Dr Tawfiq Khoja chaired the meeting.
Recommendations included developing the plan to combat, check and treat cases of Ebola and activate early warning systems to discover infectious diseases, KUNA reported.
They also included an up-to-date process of monitoring of such diseases according to latest developments of regional, international and world standards.
The proposals stressed the necessity of developing and training the Gulf manpower in checking, monitoring and facing Ebola virus. Training sessions on early warning systems, diagnosing and treating the cases were also recommended.
The meeting also focused on training in combating infections in health institutions, activating the role of the private sector to face Ebola virus, boosting cooperation and exchanging data between the GCC states and specialised international institutions.
The meeting also stressed regular results, developing national strategies to combat Ebola and the need for providing the executive bureau with up-to-date cases, number of deaths and precautionary measures.
The proposals included activating the role of communication officials to exchange data and prepare technical evidence of laboratories, and teams to combat the virus in addition to raising health awareness in all populated areas.
The member states called on the bureau to implement precautions taken by Saudi health authorities to ensure that the Haj season this year would not be disrupted by any untoward event.
They also called for working in accordance with the Gulf plan and urged World Health Organisation to assist the GCC states in training sessions on response and control the virus. It also asked WHO to provide latest developments in vaccines to face the virus.
In his opening remarks, Dr Khoja stressed the need for the member countries to take a unified stance on fighting the virus, especially in view of Haj pilgrimage season. He also cited the geographical importance of the GCC region in taking up extra precautionary measures.      

The meeting discussed the national, regional and global experiences of the deadly disease and chalked out a common strategy to combat it in the region with mutual support.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister-designate Adel bin Mohammed Faqih said the country had made elaborate arrangements to receive Haj pilgrims. The country has taken fool-proof measures against any possible epidemic outbreak. He stressed the need for the entire region to put in place precautionary measures of internationals standards.