I trust you have read encouraging news recently, as I have, that the Ebola crisis appears to be taking a turn for the better. The World Health Organization said in January that the number of cases in the three hardest hit countries—Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea—was at its lowest level in months and that the outbreak could end by June in Liberia provided a sufficient number of patients receive hospital care.
As we continue with optimism to watch events unfold, the Royal College is also keenly aware that Ebola is not over, nor will it be the last outbreak or epidemic to be faced.
We are not alone in our concerns and, along with several other health care organizations, have developed a set of collaborative, pan-Canadian tools to help Fellows and institutions increase their knowledge of this virus, as well as enhance their training and preparation for future infectious disease outbreaks.
Tools and resources for Fellows
I am proud to announce that the Royal College has just launched a new web page dedicated specifically to innovative educational tools and resources for Fellows and other frontline health care workers.
An extensive EVD readiness checklist sets out the steps for training your facility’s staff, installing screening procedures and developing a comprehensive response plan.
Our one-of-a-kind summary chart of provincial, territorial, national and international guidelines points you to recommendations made by your region about how to prevent Ebola infection and control the disease.
We have also produced videos that walk you through key issues pertaining to Ebola. One paints in broad strokes the Ebola guidelines for physicians, and another addresses the practicalities of preparing a referral hospital for a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola.
We are also finalizing three interactive e-learning modules on Ebola that are eligible for credit under the Maintenance of Certification program.
The site also aggregates pertinent information from across media and other sources, including the latest news on Ebola, a list of designated hospitals for treating the virus, guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada about preventing Ebola infection, and a reading list for further study.
A truly collaborative effort
The Royal College has been working in collaboration with its extensive network of health care partners throughout the Ebola crisis. In particular, we could not have created these resources without Infection Prevention and Control Canada, which has provided expert advice and peer reviews of all developed tools. As well, we owe a debt of gratitude to the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulations Centre, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch within Health Canada, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, and accredited simulation programs across the country.
Hundreds of infectious diseases continue to plague the planet in both urban and rural locations, including ones spread by water, such as cholera, and human contact, like Ebola.
While we hope for a healthier future, we also believe that these tools set the foundation for greater education and preparation, not just regarding Ebola, but also for future epidemics that may arise in the years ahead.
As always, I’d welcome your comments and suggestions below.
Andrew Padmos, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Chief Executive Officer