On 8th.August-2014, World Health Organisation announced a Medical Emergency because of No scientific cure of Ebola.
Health Minister J P Nadda recent response with 24 hours Ebola helpline is welcome but India `s Ebola preparedness is like searching an umbrella after the rain has arrived. You do not have to be a doctor to understand readiness to fight Ebola Anyone keeping an alert watch on Indian media will easily find that Government is hiding its errors.
On August 8th, the Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan said, “There are no cases of Ebola in India”. That was a lie!
Health Ministry Affidavit spins a different story: Of 691 passengers as on 13th.November,70 are belonged to high-risk (Ebola cases), according to the ministry’s affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to government’s preparedness against Ebola. The SC, while admitting a PIL on the issue by Vineet Dhanda, had earlier issued notices to the Centre and state Governments.
New Delhi: Five persons out of a total of 145 passengers who arrived at various airports in India from Ebola virus-affected countries in the last 24 hours were found to have contact history with positive cases of the disease, the health ministry said.
“India is ready to face any Ebola outbreak”-says the Minister. The message tries to say All is well. But in actual it is opposite. Reason ? Right now there is no known medicine/vaccine to curb or cure Ebola. All preventive measures appear on experimental basis. Travellers not having fever, or any other Ebola symptoms at the airport, can develop symptoms later on. This means who do not display symptoms at airport may also be the carrier of virus. Why our Health Minister was replaced after 5 months with a No 5 months Report Card is another unsolved mystery?
No Clear Cut Protocols in an Ebola Chain of Survival:
New Minister Nadda should thank the honesty of the Indian expatriate Ebola suspect coming from Liberia who dared to share his certificates with Airport screening team otherwise there are no clear cut protocols for Ebola detection except for some self declaration forms as shown below.
No one disagrees that Ebola is dangerous. Its terror transmission must to be stopped from entering. The 15 minute Ebola test kit at airports as promoted by dream sellers is still not approved and is not available. Getting certificates means a check up and delays like while getting a Mandatory Yellow Fever Card for an African country visit. Corruption in Africa-India is rampant. Fake Yellow fever card in Africa and in India can be easily bought by a `no visit` to a doctor or even by not getting vaccinated as per media. Doctors in the Ebola hit West African countries are not even more then 50 in the entire country and in Sierra Leone 8 doctors have already died due to Ebola Virus. Getting Ebola Free Certificate in Ebola Hit Nations from its Health Ministry without a Lab test is a weak unsafe solution.
Red Tapes which worry Indian Travellers.
Mandatory Ebola Free Certificate may help many patriotic experts who wish to insulate India from Ebola but in actual it is a weak `quick fix` move. It pits Indians against `expatriates`-Indians. There are more than 45,000 Indians working and staying in Ebola Hit Nations. They courageously earn their live hood and send dollars to India as NRIs. Collecting a `No Ebola` Certificate with initial Lab tests it shall take minimum 15 days as thousands will be screened but virus carriers are only few. Who shall be responsible for loss of opportunity in this investment of 15 days of thousands? Instead of addressing the real Indian problems in the Ebola hit countries such acts will give rise to sneakers entering from porous borders like Nepal and Bangladesh
New directive of WHO which speaks better sense is that `Ebola survivors` must abstain from sex for three months or 90days but this unique India directive that all 45,000 working Indians must carry back a `Ebola Free` certificate back home to India without `changing the ground reality` is a punishment.
Indians have to cover a lot of distance unlike in India before reaching the airport to catch flight back home and Lab test facilities in West Africa are only limited to capital city while America is gearing up with 42 Ebola test facility. See the social stigma as in the poster below.
Using Airports screening has shifted the real focus to stop Ebola at its source. India needs to send more aid and more doctors to the Ebola hit countries which can be put by Indian Embassy to the host country`s airports to screen travellers there. How many doctors in real are send to Ebola hit countries should be proudly announced by Ministry of External Affairs ?
Karnataka Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader concern and his Ebola alarm with a letter as put by media was send to PM-Modi 2 months ago. India`s Ebola Preparedness and World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines is still not visible.
The real fight at ground zero in Ebola hit countries is to win the trust of the host countries, to protect international flyers and to maximise Global Public Systems by speed screening.
About author: Worked in African countries since 2006 and had been supporting International Red Cross and few NGOs as volunteer on Basic and Advance Life Support.Other articles on Ebola sensitization written by same author and published at Dwarka Parichay column recently are :