Guyana’s preparedness to respond to an emergency emanating from an epidemic or any other disaster has received high marks from local and international observers following a simulation exercise held in Mabaruma, North West District, Region One, on Saturday, the Department of Public Information (DPI) said.
The exercise aimed at evaluating the emergency preparedness plan; test the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA)’s ability to respond to an emergency and quickly contain the possible spread of suspected disease from a focal farm.
DPI said that in keeping with established protocols, there were five teams: Quarantine, Epidemiology, Incident Command, Laboratory and Command and Control, to manage the “report of a possible outbreak of foot and mouth disease” on a local farm in the Brooms Hill community.
Following a simulation of the various steps and procedures to be engaged, in ‘a real-time, real-life situation’, the observers reported their satisfaction, DPI said.
Foot and mouth disease specialist and PAHO consultant, Dr. Victor Saraiva said, “I was impressed not only with the epidemiology group’s readiness in observation of the procedures but also with the coordination with those involved when we got to the quarantine check point’s roadblocks, and when we went to the farm everybody was aware of their role, in this event study.”
PAHO consultant Dr. Mariano Bonet, said, “there is space for knowledge, in the case of taking the samples…I can congratulate the laboratory team and also the coordination of the team with other teams and the incident commander. That for me is very good. It’s very good to work in this system.”
Director General of the Civil Defence Commission Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said the exercise was an overall success, “It is not easy to bring players from several agencies from different parts of the country and make them work as a team.”
The CDC Director added that “from the technical perspective, because I was able to observe the incident command post, the checkpoints, the quarantine and the actual focus area I think for the GLDA it’s important that you know your roles and responsibilities, and take lead with what you have to do and that is what you have demonstrated.”
Agricultural Health Specialist with Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) Dr. Maxine Parris Aaron said, “I like the fact that the soldiers, the police and the staff worked really well together. They all knew what they had to do. They did it, but they also shared information while there… I must compliment the staff, the residents because nobody quarrelled. They listened to the explanation as to why we had set up the roadblock, and they cooperated.”