Speech Article from  Public Health Agency of Canada

Archived - Speaking Notes for Dr. Gregory Taylor, Chief Public Health Officer -- Update to Canadians - Ebola

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October 20, 2014
Ottawa, Ontario
Location: Tunney’s Pasture, Brooke Claxton Building

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Thank you, Minister Ambrose.

I'm pleased to be here today to update Canadians on Canada’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

As you know, last week’s announcement of an additional $30 million dollars will help countries control the spread of Ebola in West Africa, and give much-needed protection to frontline healthcare workers.

In addition, as the Minister mentioned, the Government of Canada is sending three shipments in total of 800 vials of the Canadian experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization in Geneva.

I am pleased to report that the first shipment left Winnipeg this morning.

This Agency’s mobile laboratories also remain on the ground in Sierra Leone. They continue to help with rapid laboratory diagnostics and assessing infection prevention measures to try to determine how Ebola continues to spread.

As well, as previously mentioned, shipments from Canada’s donation of personal protective equipment have already arrived and we will be providing more equipment based on what is needed.

It is imperative that all frontline healthcare workers be prepared in the event of a confirmed first case of Ebola in Canada.
Our hospitals have strong infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of infection, protect healthcare workers, and provide the best care possible for the patient.

To support these systems, the Public Health Agency of Canada has a series of infection control guidelines that are to be used by healthcare institutions across the country.

In addition to guidelines, training is critical to ensure that proper personal protective gear and safety protocols are in place.

Last week, I was in contact with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union and the Canadian Nurses Association. Today, I will be talking with several health professional organizations to discuss frontline preparedness and safety protocols.

I will continue to work with the Chief Medical Officers in the provinces and territories to ensure all frontline healthcare workers feel prepared and properly trained to respond.

As the Minister mentioned, the Agency and Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness conducted a joint exercise today designed to ensure that public health teams are able to respond rapidly.
As was announced yesterday, we have five Ebola Rapid Response Teams and each is made up of a team leader, a field epidemiologist, and experts in infection control, a biosafety, laboratory science, communications and logistics.

One of these teams met today with counterparts in each of these fields in Halifax. They walked through the details of what would happen in the event of a case in their province and had productive discussions about how the rapid response team could best help them. This will inform and further strengthen our preparedness.

Today’s exercise follows a similar one last Friday in Ottawa, which tested the teams’ ability to quickly deploy with the proper gear and equip a dedicated aircraft.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would like to mention the successful open house that we held at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg on Saturday.

The lab is a world-class research facility dedicated to protecting Canadians and global public health.

HIV, SARS and H1N1 have raised the public health profile of infectious diseases and, yet, there are countless others like Ebola that have the potential to impact our citizens worldwide and here at home.

Investing in Canada’s public health capacity and protecting Canadians from infectious diseases is a priority for the government.

Whether it’s ground-breaking vaccine research, new diagnostic testing or cutting-edge research software, the NML has a demonstrated record of success in working in partnership with the public health community.

Collaborative preparedness efforts will continue as the Agency works with our partners in Canada and around the world to track Ebola, to further develop the Ebola vaccine and to ensure Canadians are protected.

Thank you.


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