Authorities up border watch to stop infectious diseasesThe government has assured to increase surveillance in the border areas with India to prevent the spread of infectious diseases during the festival season.
The government has assured to increase surveillance in the border areas with India to prevent the spread of infectious diseases during the festival season.
Since there are no proper disease screening centres in border areas, people travelling back home from India for the festival could be unwittingly carrying various infectious diseases such as dengue, bird flu, Hong Kong flu and malaria, officials said.
Although there are seven international health desks at various border crossings between Nepal and India, they do not have enough resources or the staff to screen every individual entering the country.
“People themselves do not get their health screened before travelling. They could potentially be carrying various diseases and end up infecting others while they are home for Dashain,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, chief medical officer at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu.
He suggested that the government should set up proper health screening facilities to stem the outbreak of contagious diseases.
Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), said screening people entering the country from India by overland route was next to impossible.
“We simply do not have the kind of resources and manpower required to run such facilities. We are nevertheless running health desks at several border points to examine the health of those travellers displaying the symptoms of infectious diseases. These health desks have been instructed to remain extra alert during the festival season, when there is a high influx of travellers,” he said.
To stop the possible spread of infectious diseases, Dr Lal said the EDCD is also planning to set up health desks at major bus parks across the country.
Health authorities have also urged people to immediately visit their nearest health facilities if they do not feel well.
The government has also directed all district hospitals to regularly send the blood and saliva samples of patients to the National Public Health Laboratory, Kathmandu, for test.
“If someone is suffering from contagious diseases, s/he should be treated at the earliest. It is also important to make sure that the disease has not spread among the family members and the community,” said Dr Lal.