KINGSTON, JAMAICA - The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) of Jamaica disclosed that Prime Minister Bruce Golding has given instructions for mobilization of a team of Jamaican medical and support personnel for deployment to Haiti.
The team will assist in combating the cholera epidemic now ravaging that country. Official reports indicate that more than 1,000 persons have died, and over 15,000 confirmed to have been infected. These numbers are expected to rise significantly, as the epidemic has now spread to all the provinces of Haiti.
In addition to medical practitioners, the contingent will include Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) personnel, who will provide logistical support and security. They will take with them medical supplies for the treatment of patients, as well as water treatment applications.
Mr Golding said that he was heartened by the number of persons who, without call-out, have volunteered to be part of the contingent.
Prime Minister Golding, as Chairman of CARICOM, has been in touch with other CARICOM governments, as well as the Special Representative to Haiti, Most Hon P.J. Patterson, in coordinating the Community's response to this latest crisis.
At the same time, the Prime Minister has instructed the JDF and the Maritime Police to intensify their surveillance to intercept boat traffic between Haiti and Jamaica, to ensure that the necessary test and quarantine procedures are fully enforced in relation to persons arriving on Jamaican shores from Haiti.
Surveillance and response procedures are already in place at the island's airports, in relation to persons who have recently been in Haiti or who display cholera-related symptoms.
The Jamaican government will be working closely with other CARICOM governments, and international agencies, to contain and defeat the cholera epidemic which, Mr Golding said, is not only a cause for alarm in Haiti, but a threat to the entire region and, in particular, Jamaica because of its close proximity.