(ZIZ News) — “Stigma and discrimination worsen a disease.” That is the view of the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Martin, who spoke with ZIZ News on Wednesday regarding concerns raised about nationals of African countries visiting St. Kitts-Nevis.
In addition to assuring the public that the country is taking all the necessary preventive steps to ensure there is not an Ebola outbreak, Dr. Martin said persons of African descent should not be discriminated against.
“The Ministry Of Health in St. Kitts-Nevis has been asked pointed questions about Nigerians in relation to students and other folks and the response is this, there’s no international ban on travel and trade to infected countries. What we will do and continue to do is to use evidence and to use standard public health practices, screen people, give people information and continue to monitor. If somebody becomes sick, isolate. If somebody was in contact with but not yet sick, quarantine but we not holding a gun to anybody’s head and say you are a bad person because you’re from Nigeria,” he said.
Dr. Martin also said that if residents become infected with Ebola, the Health Ministry will seek regional and international assistance to protect other members of the public.
“In the unlikely event of an Ebola case in St. Kitts And Nevis that would be an outbreak of international concern and we would open up our borders to W.H.O., Pan American Health Organisation, CARPHA, USCDC, Public Health Canada. We will open up our borders so that we can have all hands on deck. Yes I’m confident that we can handle it if we had one case but what if it starts to get to two and three so containment at the source and we are not going to pull the wool over our heads and say we don’t need any international help. We’ll call for the help,” he said.