The  Juan Santamaria international airport. Photo: Marcela Bertozzi, La Nacion
The Juan Santamaria international airport. Photo: Marcela Bertozzi, La Nacion

COSTA RICA NEWS — The key points of entry to Costa Rica are lacking specialists from the Ministry of HeaLth and the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), with the ability to perform surveillance, La Nacion reports.

The situation increases the country’s vulnerability against any disease; especially after the international alert for the Ebola virus, decreed by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month.

ebola_LNCIMA20141010_0194_27The key entry points to the country are: Juan Santamaria international airport, in Alajuela; the Daniel Oduber airport, in Liberia; the Tobias Bolaños airport, in Pavas; the Puerto Caldera and Puerto Puntarenas, in Puntarenas; the Alemán, Moín and Limón ports, in Limón; and the land crossings at Peñas Blancas, Guanacaste (Nicaragua border) and Paso Canoas, in Golfito (Panama border).

The Ministra de Salud and director of Health Surveillance, María Ethel Trejos Solórzano, said budgetary constraints limit resources of people and basic monitoring equipment.

According to the minister, in each post, at least three people are needed to cover all shifts, including weekends and holidays.

“It’s a need that has been raised, but it has not been possible to solve due to budget limitation. However, we have discussed this with the current health authorities, they are seeing how we can put people in all the entry points. Let’s see how we can help the political level,” said Trejos.

The minister confirmed deficiencies in their plans to combat the Ebola disease, but assured they have the hospitals selected: the Enrique Baltodano, in Liberia (for its nearness to the Daniel Oduber airport); and the San Rafael de Alajuela (less than a kilometre from the Juan Santamaría airport). The Hospital San Vicente de Paúl, in Heredia, will be in a support role.

The Tony Facio, in Limón, and the Ciudad Neily (zona sur), as the Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia and Nacional de Niños(Children’s hospital), in San José, all have the ability to deal with the disease, according to Trejos.

The CCSS is expected to provide details of their plan on Monday, during a press conference.

The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and Fuera Publica (police) report they have begun training of personnel and purchase of equipment.

The Cruz Roja, for example, began handing out protective equipment to for 1.000 staff in its nine offices.  The Fuerza Publica will have to train 14.000 officials, beginning first with officials posted at border points of entry, according to Juan José Andrade, Chief of Police.
Source: La Nacion; Fronteras ticas vulnerables a ingreso de virus del Ébola