KINGSTON: Jamaica’s National Emergency Response Team has been activated to co-ordinate and support the nation’s response to the current outbreak of Chikungunya.
The government has also allocated J$150 million (one Jamaica dollar=US$0.0089 cents), to the Chikungunya response, which includes a massive clean-up campaign aimed at destroying and removing mosquito breeding sites.
The activation of the team followed a technical meeting held last week of key government agencies. Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller addressed the meeting and mandated those involved to be thorough and consistent in the planning, implementation and public communication of the ongoing national response to the outbreak.
The National Emergency Response Team, which is headed by Simpson-Miller, involves ministries, agencies and non-government stakeholders with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management having a lead role in co-ordination and implementation.
The team’s activation is at level two, which means that activation is related to a specific event or specific events.
Activation of the National Emergency Response Team will also provide a thorough, intensive and extensive management framework for Jamaica’s planning for prevention, mitigation and response action in respect of other communicable diseases, including Ebola.
Key components of the team’s tactics include scrutiny of various ports of entry and response training of first responders, including health workers.
Training of other stakeholders, including immigration officers, customs officers and other air and seaport workers will be intensified.