Oman


GCC states unite to combat Ebola outbreak


The GCC Health Ministries’ Council meeting will tackle EVD prevention and treatment as well as dealing with the infected people. Photo supplied

Muscat: As the world continues to reel from the Ebola outbreak, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are all set to meet today in Saudi Arabia to discuss the outbreak of killer virus disease.

The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that "the GCC Health Ministries' Council meeting will tackle EVD prevention and treatment as well as dealing with the infected people."

Health experts from the GCC region are also expected to talk about international developments related to the disease, exchange expertise on precautionary measures, readiness, monitoring and emergency response.

Creating awareness
The GCC meeting will decide on producing pamphlets to create awareness. The pamphlet is likely to touch upon the nature of Ebola as a highly infectious disease, history of the current outbreak, symptoms, and transmission modes. It will have advice on personal safety and hygiene and ways to prevent exposure to the virus.

The Sultanate's Ministry of Health has already announced its plans to publish awareness handouts and distribute these at the country's entry ports.

Oman is also likely to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries Health Ministries' Council coordinative meeting on Wednesday in Riyadh to discuss the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. The conference will discuss precautionary measures to protect people who are travelling to and working in the infected countries. These precautionary measures could be unanimously adopted by the GCC countries to prevent the spread of the EVD.

A meeting was held last Wednesday at the headquarters of Oman's Ministry of Health and reviewed the latest developments related to Ebola outbreak and assessed the situation.

Global status
The officials reviewed the global status, countries affected by the virus and the recommendations of specialised international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The participants at the meeting agreed on the measures for handling suspected cases, notifying them, the lab tests to be conducted, and preventive measures.

The Ministry of Health assured that no suspected case of Ebola virus has been reported so far in Oman. It called upon everyone to follow sound health practices, ensure hygiene particularly when it comes to keeping hands clean, and avoid travelling to affected countries, namely Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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GCC countries Health Ministries Council should be commended for this timely and positive move. It is really a scary situation! God help us!