There are going to be some residents who question why the Interior Health Authority (IHA) is putting resources into Ebola response. How can the disease that’s infecting and killing thousands in western Africa show up in B.C.?
However, consider that there have been confirmed cases in Texas while there have been several individuals across Canada tested for Ebola-like symptoms.
We live in a world that is increasingly small, with local residents travelling well beyond our valley for employment, recreation and humanitarian efforts. As an example, a school district in the North Okanagan-Shuswap area recently agreed to students going to China instead of the original destination, Ghana, which has been impacted by Ebola.
It’s entirely reasonable to think that someone from here may be in western Africa or another destination, such as Texas, where Ebola is present.
As a result, IHA has to be prepared for someone with Ebola-like symptoms to walk into a hospital.
What will the initial response be from medical personnel? Where will the patient be quarantined from everyone else? What resources will be needed in an Interior community to ensure the patient is treated properly and sufficient steps are taken to prevent the possible spread if Ebola is diagnosed?
The BC Nurses Union has raised alarm bells about the health authority’s ability to handle a case of Ebola and, as health care professionals, nurses provide a wealth of expertise. But everyone at the table — doctors, nurses, technicians, etc. — need to work co-operatively instead of finger-pointing or pursuing individual mandates.
Obviously we hope Ebola does not arrive in our area, but if it does, all of us, residents and medical personnel, need to ensure we are prepared.