World Health Organization
Trinidad and Tobago
Forest Hills Eastern
Ebola Virus Disease is a severe, contagious hemorrhagic fever with no authenticated vaccinations or cures. It is fairly new, identified in the year 1976, with several outbreaks being recorded in history, the most recent being the Ebola emergency in the Congo declared in July 2019. With a mortality rate of up to 90%, the disease is often fatal. Treatment of Ebola is limited and must continue even after the death of a patient, requiring intense care during burial. It is most prevalent in West Africa specifically in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. The World Health Organization claims three objectives regarding Ebola: “interrupt all remaining chains of Ebola transmission”,“respond to the consequences of residual risks”, and “work on health systems recovery.” Recent outbreaks and hysteria in both 2016 and 2019 make the prevention of Ebola transmission a hot topic, especially in countries in which resistance or doubt of authority is abundant. A major concern regarding Ebola is it’s characteristics of remaining in survivor’s systems through bodily fluids for months or even years. In July 2019, an Ebola emergency was declared in the Congo. However, progress was made in a 2016 experimental trial for a vaccine called “rVSV-ZEBOV,” and an Ebola vaccine was prequalified by the WHO on November 12th, 2019. The WHO has supported the making and testing of Ebola vaccines and spread information on the disease. NGOs such as Care USA and UNICEF are also working to prevent the spread of Ebola through distribution of hygienic materials, and educating the masses.
A 2014 scare of Ebola on Trinidad’s soil showed mass hysteria of the people, as little precautions were set in place for such an event. The country was “shut down,” and essential services, such as gas stations, ceased their functioning. Many abandoned their jobs, including medical personnel. In the event of another scare of a viral disease such as Ebola, this hysteria would likely return. Trinidad and Tobago, a fairly small, densely populated country surrounded by water, is not well equipped to be controlled in an outbreak. Trinidad and Tobago have only three public hospitals, and spend 6% of their GDP on healthcare.. Trinidad and Tobago has made efforts, however, to curb the spread of Ebola. In 2014, Trinidad and Tobago ordered a travel ban on all travelers coming from certain African countries, and issued a 21 day quarantine for travelers who have returned from said countries. The Ministry of Health is Trinidad and Tobago’s main healthcare organization. In 2019, the Ministry of Health held a meeting to discuss appropriate responses for an event in which Ebola emerges in the Caribbean. Several different organizations, such as the Ministry of Communications and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, attended the meeting. Regardless of these motions to prevent the emergence and spread of Ebola in Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago, based on the previous hysteric response of civilians, its geographical location, and the state of its healthcare system, is not fit to be a leading nation in the Ebola crisis.
Trinidad and Tobago suggests travel restrictions on travelers coming from at-risk countries, pre-prepared measures set in place in the event of a crisis, and requests monetary aid for the establishment of quarantine centers and pop-up medical centers. An ideal resolution would include measures set on prevention, treatment, and education, and would create environments unsusceptible to panic.
- Halle Mikula