ERG/AOP urges public health to react now to W.H.O. ‘high’ Monkeypox alarm


‘On the personal authority of its Head, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation (WHO), has now declared Monkeypox to be a health emergency at a global level. The WHO Head has said that although it is a ‘moderate’ risk internationally, in Europe it is ‘high’, Equality Rights Group (ERG)/Action on Poverty (AOP) has said today.

‘That means it’s now a ‘high’ risk in Gibraltar too, regardless of the current rate of infection.

‘Immediately upon the increased alert being announced by WHO, ERG/AOP Chair Felix Alvarez has contacted the office of the Director of Public Health, Dr. Helen Carter, urging a consequent increase of the GHA’s risk public profile in Gibraltar.

‘More information and more urgently needs to be put out there to at-risk people groups in our community.

‘In our on-going concern for issues related to the LGBT+ community, ERG/AOP has been following-up developments on this viral infection for some time now, having met with the Director of Public Health on 13th July last to establish a partnership in coordination of any assistance that can be offered.

‘Unfortunately, we have seen no public move by Public Health to date. We need now to increase the profile to the public so as to avert the possibility of a lack of awareness driving an increase. This low-level official response to date is an issue of some concern to ERG/AOP which we made clear to Dr. Carter almost two weeks ago now.

‘ERG/AOP keeps a close eye on issues of importance to the LGBT+ and other minorities in Gibraltar, and, in our view, an attitude of prevention is always going to be better than cure. From our meeting last 13th July with Dr. Carter, for whom we have much respect, we understand the GHA has already taken preparatory steps to move towards readiness in prevention and treatment.

‘While Monkeypox is a contact-driven infection, not considered to be specifically transmitted sexually, given that in many countries sexually active communities appear to be most at risk, it is vital we vigorously inform active LGBT and heterosexual individuals regardless of age or gender of the risks involved. Any close physical contact of any type, however, including with infected clothing and objects can potentially carry the infection forward.

‘The WHO announcement must now guide a higher response,’ the statement ended. ‘We urge Public Health to move without delay.’