Wednesday, 4 September 2013

B’dos minister asks other regional countries to join CAPSCA

Countries in the English-speaking Caribbean are being urged to join the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) programme.

The call has come from Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy. In his message to the participants of the Fifth CAPSCA-Americas Meeting, which was read by the Chief Technical Officer, Ministry of International Transport, Jacqueline Blackman, Minister Sealy noted that Barbados is the only CAPSCA-Americas State in the English-speaking Caribbean, and he maintained that it is in the interest of all states to take part in the regional project. Moreover, he said that the Barbados CAPSCA arrangement can be used as a model that can be implemented in other countries.

“An outbreak of a communicable disease is usually unpredictable and may be characterised by uncertainty, confusion and a sense of urgency. Advanced planning to contain and remove the threat is critical to ensuring the safety and health of our nations,” he said.

The Minister’s comments came as he noted that the objective of the CAPSCA programme is to reduce the risk of spreading communicable diseases by air travellers, and to mitigate the effects of such diseases on the health of populations and the economies of states.

Standards compliance
Given that, he said that the programme and the matters to be discussed at the meeting this week are vital to the sustainable development of states.

“Barbados, like its neighbours, is an open economy, and therefore vulnerable to the outbreak of existing and new communicable diseases. It is therefore essential that we develop and implement harmonised safeguards to prevent or mitigate any serious public health event and reduce the threat to the citizens and visitors to our region,” he added.

With that in mind, he noted that his ministry, mindful of the country’s obligation to meet the ICAO Standard and the adverse effects of the deadly H1N1 virus, did not hesitate to join the CAPSCA–Americas Programme.

He added that through close collaboration with the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc., and the Ministry of Health, they implemented actions to bring Barbados in compliance with the standard. The International Transport Minister said that not only has Barbados established the required infrastructure, but through the ICAO-CAPSCA validation mission in 2010, the country gained distinction from the audit and was accredited as fully compliant with the ICAO Standards. (JRT)

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