BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, February 13, 2020 (CMC) – Media workers, across the Caribbean, 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, and possibly coming into contact with the novel coronavirus.
This, they argue, will give the region the best chance of knowing the risk-status of its 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, which can reduce the chances of contracting and/or spreading the virus.
Both organisations were represented in a Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) webinar, in which more than 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 revealed he was not, as yet, in a position to give information on what gaps or assistance different countries needed.
He added that authorities were now going through their evaluation exercises.
Meanwhile, CDEMA’s Executive Director, Ronald Jackson, and Program Manager Preparedness and Response, Joanne Persaud, urged the media to encourage audiences to pay attention to official information and avoid rumours and uncorroborated information sharing.
They encouraged the 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.