Workshop develops manual for outbreak control management

POSTED: 08/4/16 11:38 AM

St.maarten – Staff from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, the Tourist Bureau, the Hospitality and Trade Association SHTA and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort and Casino, took part in a two-day workshop coordinated by the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) about developing communicable disease prevention guidelines for the hospitality industry.

The workshop was organized with the economic importance of the tourism industry in mind. The effects of a communicable disease crisis can potentially be devastating and can have long-term impacts on the economy.

The effort underway is part of the country’s compliance with international health regulations. A collective response by the public and private (hospitality) sector is required once an event is confirmed and considered a potential public health risk.

The goal of the workshops was to exchange information and to write a preparedness and response plan.

A step-by-step approach will be taken to integrate health and hygiene into the hospitality policies, manuals and guidelines. A committee is to be formed to manage and monitor the implementation of the results of the workshop.

This committee will develop a plan of action, strategize and execute actions based on suggestions and recommendations that came out of the workshop. The committee is scheduled to meet next week.

The aim of the two-day workshop is to develop a manual for outbreak control management that will be used to train and educate staff and to ensure that standard operating procedures are in place to monitor the use of the manual.

There were a number of presentations about foodborne diseases like shigella and salmonella, airborne diseases like swine flu and influenza, waterborne diseases like legionella, vector borne diseases like leptospirosis or Weil’s disease), dengue, chikungunya and zika and the contact disease norovirus.

Two case studies were used for the workshop related to the norovirus, one related to a cruise ship and what actions were taken, and the second one of a hotel resort.

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