REGIONAL HEALTH AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES URGE MEDIA TO SHARE MORE USEFUL INFORMATION ON CORONAVIRUS
February 12, 2020. Bridgetown, Barbados. Media workers across the region are being urged by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to willingly give information to health and other authorities about people in their families and communities who have recently been to China or other high risk areas for coming into contact with the novel coronavirus. This they argue, will give the region the best chance of knowing the risk status of our communities and how to prepare and manage them.
Journalists are also being urged to use their various media platforms to share information on the best hygiene practices that can reduce the chances of contracting and/or spreading the virus, if they ever come into contact with it.
The two organisations were represented in a Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) webinar in which more than twenty (20) media workers were able to discuss the latest information available to the region on the global health alert issue.
It was also disclosed to the webinar that health authorities across the region now have a preparedness tool to help them assess if they have covered all the critical areas that should get attention to effectively manage the health alert.
While Dr. Rufus Ewing, Advisor – Health Systems and Services at PAHO confirmed the sharing of the tools with health authorities, he was not as yet in a position to give information on what gaps or assistance different countries needed. He said the authorities were now going through their evaluation exercises.
In the meantime, CDEMA’s Executive Director, Mr. Ronald Jackson and Programme Manager Preparedness and Response, Ms. Joanne Persaud urged media to encourage audiences to pay attention to official information and avoid rumours and uncorroborated information sharing.
They encouraged media to help citizens understand that following the recommended public health approaches to sneezing, coughing and frequent washing of hands with soap, were simple but very effective practices.
The CBU Media Webinar also heard from Dr. Joy St. John, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA.
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