A table top exercise for a possible ebola outbreak was conducted on the 20th November to test the status of the ebola preparedness plan of the Ministry of Health and their capacity to manage a response in the event of an outbreak in Seychelles.
The one day session at Kempinski Hotel, Baie Lazare organized by the Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRM), brought together representatives from the World Health Organisation, tourism-related agencies, the Red Cross, the community and local media.
Participants were presented with different scenarios illustrating possible detected cases and discussed how the different sections of the Ministry of Health will co-ordinate and implement emergency response activities to manage possible cases in the event that patients are diagnosed with the virus in line with its ebola preparedness response plan.
Local authorities got acquainted to the plan which provides the core capacity to prevent, detect, characterize and respond quickly, efficiently and in a coordinated manner to the threats in order to reduce mortality and morbidity.
The Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Jude Gedeon briefed attendees on the local preparedness plan. He mentioned all logistics and plans are already in place. These include a special committee that meets regularly once or twice a week; a communication plan being developed; six-month indicated budget; a standard operating procedure being developed, continuous and on-going training; stocking of materials, among other measures being taken.
The Communication and Information Officer at DRDM, Miss Regina Prosper said emergency medical services personnel, along with other agencies, have a vital role to play regarding prevention and preparation measures in the event of any exposure to ebola and disseminating information to the general public on how to take appropriate actions.
“The importance of such exercise is to test plans, standard Operating Procedures, equipment, train personnel and help to improve response for any real event. It was an opportunity to also discuss how the ministry will co-ordinate with other agencies to share and disseminate information as well as protection of employees providing treatment and care to patients” she added.
Participants described the exercise as enlightening.
The Table Top Exercise which helped to identify a few gaps that must be worked on will be followed by a Functional Exercise and later a Full Scale Exercise.