A ‘No Ebola Certificate’ is now a requirement for those travelling to India from Ebola virus affected countries as per the Health Ministry. This move shall create more problems and panic. Many are aware that the `No Ebola Flight` to Canada and Australia was a violation of the international Health Regulations, a 2005 World Health Organization treaty to which both countries are signatories. This action was criticized by many countries. The real fight at ground zero in Ebola hit countries is to win the trust of the host countries, to protect travelers and to maximize Global Health Governance by speed screening.
No one disagrees that Ebola is dangerous. Its terror transmission must to be stopped. The 15 minute Ebola test kit at airports is still not approved and is not available. Getting certificates means a check up and delays like has been observed while getting a Mandatory Yellow Fever Card for an African country visit. Corruption in Africa-India is rampant. 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 not a safe solution.
The new Indian Government which came to power with a slogan-To minimize Government and Maximize Governance is found lacking in its attempts. It appears the Ministry has taken a `short cut` before fixing other immigration essentials like Government control to ask insurance companies to facilitate safe insurance covering Ebola.
Why Insurance companies instead of covering Ebola are running away ?
Sample the cost of an Ebola hospitalization and death. Estimates put the cost of treatment to Thomas Eric Duncan, the uninsured Liberian national who was hospitalized in America and who later died as around $1,000 an hour, or close to $500,000 overall. A write up by Christopher Boggs vice president of education for Insurance Journal`s Academy of Insurance puts it simple- Why Ebola will not be covered under workers `compensation? In America the Insurance Companies kept on tendering excuses that there is No compensation for Fear as seen in an old cartoon which is self explanatory.
Thanks to the Public Pressure and commitment of MPs in the United States. Insurance companies now appear ready to cover Ebola compensation to American travellers on losing connecting flights or trains and helicopter evacuation when stuck up in a Ebola hit village in West Africa.
American Government is today announcing full Ebola coverage tailored to travellers while Modi Government is still celebrating and promoting easy achievements like Life long visa for Persons of Indian Origins and `no show` up at Police stations in India.
Why this difference in Safety of Indian Travelers?
Insurance lobby in their business calculations consider how much the country spends on health. The bitter truth remains that India spends not more then 3% of its GDP on health. Spain another `Ebola travel` hit country spends 3000 USD per person per year while US spends 9000 USD per person per year.
Hidden speed breakers which worry Indian Travelers.
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. 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
Transmission of Ebola – Can We Stop in a Hurry ?
New directive of WHO says that `Ebola survivors` must abstain from sex for three months or 90 days. 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.
Protocols for Ebola chain of survival are not clear and are missing
Health Minister J P Nadda recent response – 24 hours Ebola helpline is welcome but India’s Ebola preparedness is like searching an umbrella after the rain has arrived.
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 protocols for Ebola detection except for some self declaration forms as shown below. Travelers 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.
Airport screenings 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 travelers there.
On 8th.August-2014, World Health Organisation announced a Medical Emergency because of No scientific cure of Ebola.
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 is still not visible.
Can Modi Magic force insurance lobby and protect overseas Indian`s interests in W Africa ?
By Rakesh Manchanda
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.