Pak ready for WHO Ebola spot checks
Islamabad: Pakistan has taken all necessary measures to prevent the import of the deadly Ebola virus and invited a WHO team to inspect its preparedness levels.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) officials in a meeting held last month had asked Pakistan to take measures to counter the import of the deadly virus.
Pakistan has invited a WHO team to inspect the country's preparedness levels on November 23.
"Airlines have been instructed to inform airports if they are carrying a passenger who has travelled to the countries where the Ebola epidemic is currently raging on," Director General (DG) Health Assad Hafeez was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
"The flight crew will make announcements just before landing and will instruct passengers who have travelled to West Africa to report at the Ebola counter," he said.
Hafeez said a team of health department officials will be on hand to receive the flagged individuals. They will be scanned and allowed to proceed out of the airport after obtaining their contact details and addresses.
He said the staff at hospitals was also trained in Ebola detection and containment and WHO is providing personal protection kits for doctors.
Hafeez said airlines had been instructed to bring in passengers who had travelled to West Africa to the three major international airports in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, because these are best equipped to receive such passengers.
A coordination committee has also been established for every airport to maintain constant contact with the ministry and other concerned departments.
Pakistan Army personnel posted to the peacekeeping missions in Africa are already being treated under a quarantine policy.
"Officials of the armed forces are monitored for 21 days in Africa and then they are sent back to Pakistan. Over the past two months, two chartered flights of officials who were on peacekeeping missions have arrived in the country. They were scanned at the time of arrival but not a single one was found to be infected with Ebola," Hafeez said.
On Thursday night, National Health Services (NHS) minister Saira Afzal Tarar visited the polio and Ebola counters at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad and examined the performance of officials deputed there.
She directed that the polio counter be moved to near the immigration counter and also ordered action against a doctor who was found absent from his post.