Bird flu plan discussed

Cayman’s preparedness plans for a bird-flu pandemic were discussed during a recent meeting between Cayman officials and the Pan American Health Organisation.

PAHO’s Dr. Ernest Pate and Dr. Anna Treasure visited Cayman 3-4 July to speak with Health Minister Anthony Eden and government department representatives about the Cayman Islands National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan, said a GIS press release.

Attending the meeting were officials from the Public Health, Environmental Health and Agriculture departments, and Cayman’s Emergency Management Agency. In discussing the plan, the group identified areas that will be enhanced.

Regional plans on the flu pandemic preparedness, and the need for developing risk communication plans across the region, were also discussed.

‘It is very important to maintain regional surveillance systems,” Mr. Eden said. ‘We also understand that it is even more critical is to understand that effective communication is the key to managing the disease and preventing social panicking.’

Local officials are currently attending a Caribbean sub-regional workshop, titled National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan, in Barbados which concludes Sunday. Attending are: Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar, Veterinary Officer Dr. Colin Wakelin and NEMA’s Deputy Director McCleary Frederick.

Mr. Eden also discussed with Dr. Pate possible consultancies from PAHO for the review of the Public Health services and a review of Mental Health Services, with the aim of establishing a new structure that will integrate public health services performed by the Department of Public Health and Environmental Health and a review of Mental Health Services with the aim of developing a comprehensive community mental health programme.