A Declaration of the Extraordinary ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola, hosted today in Havana, Cuba, has been issued.
“The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America–Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP in its Spanish acronym), meeting in Havana on 20 October 2014, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Summit to deal with the Ebola epidemic:-
Profoundly concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe in West Africa caused by the Ebola epidemic which has been considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a “public health emergency” of international concern, with the threat of spreading to other countries and regions of the world.
Aware of the urgency with which the international community as a whole, in full cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) is undertaking actions to deal with this scourge using all necessary resources.
Clearly understanding with concern that the international resources required in order to undertake rapid and efficacious actions to deal with the Ebola epidemic are continuing to be insufficient to confront what could become one of the most serious pandemics in the history of humanity.
Reaffirming that ALBA-TCP is sustained on principles of solidarity, true cooperation and complementarity among our countries, and commitment for the most vulnerable peoples and to the preservation of life on this planet.
Convinced that it is vital to adopt efficacious and urgent cooperation measures that, through coordinated actions of the health sector and other sectors, would contribute to prevent the Ebola epidemic from spreading to the countries of our hemisphere.
Remembering stipulations established in the International Health Regulation (2005) and in the WHO Roadmap for Response to Ebola on 28 August 2014 whose aim is to stop transmission of Ebola on a global scale and to confront the consequences of any new international spread.
Taking note of WHO protocols for the prevention of transmission of Ebola among persons, organizations and population groups.
Underlining that it is possible to contain the Ebola outbreak, especially by applying the established interventions in matters of health and safety and other preventative measures that have demonstrated their efficacy.
We hereby agree:
- To coordinate our efforts to prevent and deal with the Ebola epidemic, including rapidly providing and using assistance among our countries, with healthcare workers and relevant supplies and materials.
- To look after, as a priority, the special needs of our sister countries in the Caribbean that would allow them to benefit from the cooperation for preventing and confronting Ebola that are agreed to by the ALBA-TCP countries.
- To immediately activate ALBA-TCP’s Epidemiological Surveillance Network, the creation of which was agreed to at the First Meeting of Health Ministers of the Alliance held on this past 25 February, 2014 in Caracas.
- To decisively support the voluntary medical brigades specialized in dealing with disasters and major epidemics, the Henry Reeve Contingent of the Republic of Cuba, working in the countries of Africa. In this regard, we express our willingness, as Bolivarian Alliance, to contribute with highly qualified health personnel to join the efforts of this contingent on tasks that are required in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- To establish national mechanisms to rapidly diagnose and isolate suspected cases of Ebola, taking into account the initial clinical manifestations of the disease, the travel and/or exposure history reported by the patient or obtained by the epidemiological investigation.
- To share and generate capacities for the diagnosis of diseases that require laboratories of appropriate biosafety levels.
- To design and carry out public education campaigns about the prevention of and response to Ebola, directed to increase the preparedness of the population and to promote their trust.
- To provide and reinforce preventive measures for the detection and mitigation of exposure to Ebola infection and to provide treatment and effective medical services for the personnel of the response team.
- To reinforce measures of epidemiological surveillance at borders, particularly at ports and airports.
- To contribute to the training of health care workers specialized in the prevention and control of Ebola in the ALBA-TCP countries and the Caribbean, on the basis of accumulated experience.
- To create a cadre of professionals from different specialties to train healthcare workers in the areas of biosafety, including the use of personal protective equipment to be used for suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, care of hemorrhagic diseases and critical patients that might become facilitators and advisors in their respective countries.
- To ensure the deployment of all possible health services, reserve medical teams and the vital consumables to confront the disease.
- To encourage scientific, epidemiological and biological research on Ebola within the ALBA-TCP framework, and promote cooperation in this field with other countries, as a contribution to international efforts directed towards confronting the epidemic and for the aim of consolidating the scientific, medical and health independence of the countries of the Alliance.
- To improve information mechanisms among our countries so that we may keep up to date on the epidemiological situation of ALBA-TCP countries and so that acquired experiences may be disseminated with greater ease.
- To decisively support initiatives of the United Nations, particularly WHO/PAHO and UNMEER, for implementation of the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee.
- To promote cooperation with other countries of the hemisphere in order to face and prevent Ebola, and undertake joint programmes that would contribute to that end.
- To urgently convene a technical meeting of specialists and directors of ALBA-TCP countries, in Havana, on 29 and 30 October, to exchange experiences and knowledge, as well as to draw up prevention and control strategies for the threat of the Ebola epidemic.
- To charge the Ministers of Health of the ALBA-TCP countries to draw up an Action Plan in the light of the proposals of the technical meeting of specialists and directors, and its immediate application, in coordination with PAHO/WHO. This Plan must be presented for consideration by the heads of State and Government of the ALBA-TCP, at the latest on 5 November, 2014.
- To use all the resources available to the ALBA-TCP Executive Secretariat to support the agreed initiatives.
- To congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the donation of five million dollars to combat Ebola, and which were delivered to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, on 16 October, 2014.
- To congratulate the Republic of Cuba and its people for the demonstration of solidarity with the sister countries of West Africa by sending Cuban medical personnel.
- To propose that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) promotes regional efforts for prevention and control of the threat of the Ebola epidemic.
- To continue collaborating with the countries of Africa affected by the epidemic, to maintain existing cooperation with those who are not affected and to incorporate the experiences of the brigades specialized in confronting disasters and major epidemics who are at work there.
Havana, 20 October, 2014