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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

WHO, health ministry working on Ebola plan

PTI  New Delhi, August 22, 2014
First Published: 18:28 IST(22/8/2014) | Last Updated: 01:31 IST(23/8/2014)

World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with health ministry to formulate a "preparedness plan" to deal with just in case if there is an outbreak of Ebola in the country.

"Preparation is a very critical aspect. WHO is working with the Ministry of Family Welfare and Planning to ensure that we put into place preparedness measures.

It doesn't mean it is going to happen, but we are prepared if it happens," Asheena Khalakdina, team leader, communicable disease, WHO Country office for India said.

She said the countries should be prepared to deal with in case of an outbreak scenario. "We have outbreak measures in place and in India we are looking at airports and other entry points."

Lauding the the ministry of health and family welfare's "proactive" measures in dealing with the Ebola, Khalakdina said still there were gaps and the WHO was working with the government to deal with them.

"It requires a great amount of effort to reach a 100 per cent (in preventing an Ebola case in country). The ministry is very serious (in handling the situation). Even before the pandemic was announced the Minister (Harsh Vardhan) discussed some measures to go about in this.

"Every country has areas where they can make progress. India is not an exception and we are working to identify where the gaps are," she said.

Interestingly, an example of working in tandem with the government was, WHO had recently informed the ministry that one passenger had travelled on the same flight in which Ebola cirus patient (foreign national) was travelling from Morovia to Lagos. The Indian passenger was not only tracked but his health is being regularly monitored.

According to WHO, in 1976, the disease first appeared in two simultaneous outbreaks in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. Until December 2013, a total of 23 outbreaks recorded 2,388 human cases and 1,590 deaths.

The current outbreak began in Guinea in late 2013 and spread to neighbouring countries, but it is still unknown how the 2014 outbreak in West Africa started where four countries -Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have been affected.


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