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Minister of Health Anthony Eden (l), and PAHO representatives Dr Ernest Pate and Dr Anna Treasure.

Published 20th July 2006, 3:45pm

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).

PAHO's Dr Ernest Pate and Dr Anna Treasure visited Cayman on 3 and 4 July to speak with the Minister of Health and Human Services, the Hon. Anthony Eden, OBE, JP, and government department representatives, about the Cayman Islands National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan.

Attending the meeting were officials from the Public Health, Environmental Health, and Agriculture departments, and Cayman's Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). 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," Minister Eden said. "We also know that effective communication is the key to managing the disease and preventing panic in the community."

To further assist Cayman with its plan, Minister Eden noted local officials will attend a Caribbean sub-regional workshop, titled National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan, in Barbados from 17-23 July. Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar, Veterinary Officer Dr Colin Wakelin, and NEMA's Deputy Director McCleary Frederick will represent Cayman.

Minister 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. The aim of the Public Health review is to establish a new structure that will integrate public health services performed by the Department of Public Health and Environmental Health. A comprehensive community Mental Health programme will be developed following the review of the Mental Health Services.

For further information on avian influenza (bird flu) please view the following websites: www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/avian_faqs/en/index.html and www.cdc.gov/.