The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, arrived on Sunday in Havana, Cuba to participate at the summit of Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas (ALBA-TCP). The meeting of the regional organization set for this Monday is looking to coordinate responses to the Ebola crisis.
PAHO will discuss how to strengthen regional efforts in order to prevent the disease from spreading throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Etienne believes that Latin American countries are ready to address Ebola, although she assured that the probability of Ebola reaching Latin America is very low.
“Our objective in this area is to assure ourselves that we can detect the first case as quickly as possible. We need to take the necessary measures to prevent the transmission of the disease,” stressed Etienne.
Etienne also celebrated the Cuban government’s decision to send a 400 person medical brigade to Sierre Leone stating that, “this is an example of what a small country can do to help other nations.”
In Haiti, the PAHO issued a joint statement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to address rumors that Ebola had reached the island nation.
“It is worrying to see the growing number of unfounded rumors, which suggests that the virus of the disease Ebola is in Haiti. These rumors are likely to make taking bad decisions, or even cause panic movements without cause in the population,” read the statement. “PAHO/WHO urge the press and population to exercise caution, including health workers, noting that the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and partners are mobilized to prepare for all eventualities.”