CARICOM Leaders Hold Special Meeting on Threat of Ebola, Chikungunya


Above: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Trinidad and Tobago is hosting a special meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community this week.

The special one-day meeting, which was set to begin Tuesday, is focusing on the threat of the Ebola virus and the ongoing effects of the Chikungunya mosquito-borne virus in the Caribbean.

“The primary purpose of the meeting is to review action being taken regarding the current challenging public health issues facing the CARICOM region, namely the Ebola and Chik V [chikungunya] diseases, and to agree on a way forward,” Trinidad’s government said in a statement.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had called for the special meeting to discuss these public health issues back in September, a call that was echoed by St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas.

There have been no cases of Ebola in the Caribbean region, which has been proactive in enacting travel bans and restrictions from countries affected by the outbreak of the virus in West Africa.

Chikungunya has been a different kind of problem, a mosquito-borne illness that is rarely fatal but extremely painful, and one that has been spreading across much of the region.