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Minister of Health Rona Ambrose, joined by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Gregory Taylor and Assistant Deputy Minister of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Dr. Judith Bossé, makes an announcement concerning the Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.
November 3, 2014
Thank you Minister. I’d like to start by saying how delighted I am to be here in our internationally recognized National Microbiology Laboratory, and I’m so proud of the dedicated and talented staff here that we have working with us.
Regarding today’s announcement, Canada’s experience in dealing with public health issues, including SARS, H1N1 and H5N1 has strengthened our preparedness for public health risks or outbreaks. I meet regularly with the members of the Joint Pan-Canadian Public Health Network Council and the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health to support their preparedness in Canada.
While the widespread and intense transmission of Ebola continues in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, I want to assure Canadians that we will continue to ensure Canada is well prepared for a possible case of Ebola. I would also like to commend all of the many health care workers who have stepped up tirelessly, and put their personal health at risk on the front lines to prevent the spread of Ebola.
We are immensely proud of the important work they do, which is crucial in helping maintain the health and safety of Canadians as well of those in affected countries.
Today’s announcement of an investment of $1 million will allow us to deploy additional Quarantine Officers who will ensure that Canada remains well protected. As we’ve said, the Public Health Agency of Canada has been involved in developing experimental medical countermeasures for Ebola right here in Winnipeg and they have shown great promise in animal research.
These countermeasures include Canada’s experimental Ebola vaccine as well as monoclonal antibodies used in experimental treatments. Today’s announcement of an additional $23.5 million will allow us to do further research and development of these medical countermeasures.
If the Phase 1 clinical trials underway in the US are successful, the investment announced today will help support additional trials to test our Ebola vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in larger groups of test subjects. Clinical trials are an important step in addressing some of the ethical considerations around providing an experimental vaccine to assist in helping stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Another medical countermeasure against Ebola is the monoclonal antibody treatment, ZMapp. Canada proudly developed two of the three antibodies in ZMapp. By investing in these medical countermeasures, we are investing in a global public health resource and in measures that could potentially protect Canadians at home and abroad.
As a large and diverse country, hospitals, treatment centres and populations vary. As a result, most provinces have designated facilities that are equipped and trained to receive an Ebola patient, should there be a case in Canada.
Again, I want to take this opportunity to remind Canadians that today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that Canada continues to remain cautious and well prepared. The provinces and territories’ Chief Medical Officers and I will continue to share information and work together in order to ensure that all levels of government in Canada and the health sector are well prepared in the event of a first case of Ebola in Canada.
As Minister Ambrose just said, protecting the health of Canadians is our greatest priority. I thank you. Now, Dr. Bossé will say a few words en français.